Pretoria's Caledonian Stadium in total decay
Dennis Maduna, the coach of Arcadia Shepherds Football Club, which plays its home matches at the inner city facility, said the state of the stadium seemed to be getting worse with nobody taking action.
He said matches were being cancelled as a result. “We were supposed to play against Tuks and the league stopped us and stated the pitch was not in a good condition to be used for any official games,” he said.
Known as Callies, the stadium was built in 1903 and has been neglected over recent years, with no electricity or proper sewerage water connection system since 2012.
Players said the lack of rain at this time of the year had also let them down.
“We really don’t expect much from the sprinklers; they work as and when they do. But we thought Mother Nature would come to the rescue, which sadly hasn’t been the case,” said one player.
Maduna also complained about a major health hazard - the dust - the players were exposed to. The pitch was hard and dusty, he said.
The stadium has become a thorn in the City’s side. The former ANC-led administration wanted to turn it into a R100 million park.
However, the decision was overturned by the DA-led City government, with former mayor Solly Msimanga assembling a task team to safeguard the stadium to ensure it remained a sporting field instead of becoming a park.
City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said that because of the procurement schedule, the maintenance on the facility was stopped. He said clubs that were using the facility were doing so without permission or agreement.
He said the City was in the middle of a procurement process for the refurbishment of the stadium.
“A tender was submitted and advertised during May. Unfortunately, there was non-compliance and the City had to re-advertise and the tender closed at the beginning of October,” he said.
Mashigo said the City received six bids and the adjudication process was finalised last week.
The next step is approval by the Bid Adjudication Committee and the final appointment of a contractor was expected towards the end of next month.
“Site establishment will then follow within at least two weeks. As a practical alternative, it might be best to establish the site after the compulsory builder’s holiday in the second week in January,” he said.
During its glory days the stadium produced soccer legends Deshi Bhaktawer and Mark Fish and in recent years the likes of Tiyani Mabunda, George Lebese,, Bongani Khumalo, Katlego Mphela and Phil Evans.