IT might be designed principally as a vehicle to raise a considerable sum of money for charity, but if the previous annual 20 charity spectacular extravaganzas are anything to go by, today's three-game Telkom Charity Cup will demonstrate little charity on the FNB Stadium pitch itself.

All four clubs involved will be flexing their muscles in this semi-official start to the new season, with holders and Premier League champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, and Kaizer Chiefs, who face each other in the second game in an appropriate 12 noon showdown, both immersed in an almost obsessive desire to prove their superiority over the other.

Amakhosi of course never enjoy playing second fiddle to anyone and despite their much publicised penalty shoot-out victory over what was basically a Manchester United second-string line-up in the Vodacom Challenge, it is the Brazilians who currently hold sway as the top dogs in the PSL.

After depriving Chiefs of the Premier League title last season, Sundowns further displayed their mettle in a comprehensive 2-0 pre-season victory over Scottish giants, Glasgow Rangers infinitely closer to being at full-strength in this game than Manchester United were when downed by the Amakhosi.

If this clash in the Charity Cup is seen basically as a barometer of prospects in the new season, much of the planned rise in mercury will depend ultimately on the off-season signings designed to bolster the respective squads.

Sundowns, sometimes labelled a mini-Chelsea for their excessive spending, have secured the services of Calvin Marlin, which is reasonable enough when it is accepted the former SuperSport United player is currently rated the top goalkeeper in the country.

But Sundowns recently boasted five goalkeepers of note and it has to be asked what a soccer team can do with five goalkeepers, particularly when one of them, the evergreen former Bafana stalwart, Andre Arendse, played such an instrumental role last season in the Brazilians claiming their first league title in five years.

More to the point will be the evidence revealed as to whether svelte Sundowns have adequately bolstered an often timid frontline and provided the diminutive Jose Torrelbea with a power-packed striker to augment the Venezuelan's skill and professionalism.

Chiefs have made signings that are designed to correct creative flaws in midfield through the introduction of Bloemfontein Celtic's Siyabonga Nkosi, and aerial power up front via all-time leading Bafana scorer, Shaun Bartlett.

The first of what are deemed generously as two semi-finals pits Orlando Pirates against Bloemfontein Celtic at 9 30am. To be quite candid neither of these two sides have set the PSL firmament ablaze in early season outings.

What an ultimate triumph in the tournament would do for the Buccaneers morale is well nigh immeasurable after their shaky performances in the Challenge and the prestigious Caf Champions league.

All the coaches involved, including Neil Tovey and Miguel Gamondi (Sundowns) and Ernst Middendorf (Chiefs), have expressed the view that it will not be a train smash not to succeed in becoming the 21st Charity Cup champions after a final that is due to kickoff between 4 30pm and 5pm.

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