The City of Cape Town is unhappy with the South African Football Association, which it accuses of neglecting the city and its stadium by not bringing Bafana Bafana to town.
The City of Cape Town is unhappy with the South African Football Association, which it accuses of neglecting the city and its stadium by not bringing Bafana Bafana to town.

Bring Bafana to Cape Town

By Babalo Ndenze Time of article published Nov 28, 2011

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The City of Cape Town is unhappy with the South African Football Association (Safa), which it accuses of neglecting the city and its stadium by not bringing Bafana Bafana to town.

This comes two weeks after the Heineken Cup debacle in which English club Saracens cancelled its game scheduled for Cape Town Stadium following a fallout with Western Province Rugby Union.

In a snub to the city, the Western Province Rugby Football Union decided that the Heineken Cup match in January should be played at Newlands and not Cape Town Stadium as envisaged by the city.

The city has now turned its attention to soccer bosses.

Mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing Grant Pascoe said Safa was being unfair with its venue selection.

“Bafana Bafana is a national team and not a regional team. We would really like to see a fair spread of games. We hosted only one successful friendly against the US,” Pascoe said.

The last Bafana Bafana game at Cape Town Stadium was over a year ago.

Pascoe said there were more venues than just Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg to host Bafana games.

“Why are they depriving these soccer-loving people of a game? Safa did look at the city and we were the ones approached for a friendly. They wanted us to cover the costs. To cover the costs is ridiculous really. We can’t just cover all the costs in an event of that nature. But we’re not opposed to assisting. Bafana Bafana is a national asset,” Pascoe said.

He wasn’t aware of any future games coming to Cape Town, but added that the friendly against Ghana next year would be a good game to host.

Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said the city was being “unfair” and there were many other stadiums in other parts of the country.

He said Bafana games have been staged in rotation from Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Mbombela (Mpumalanga), Nelson Mandela and Ellis Park.

“We have to prioritise. For the Ivory Coast and Bafana game, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro put in more money (than the City of Cape Town). But I’m confident the next game can be held in Cape Town. It is a bit unfair for them to say that. When we went to Port Elizabeth, people were saying the same thing. But Safa and the different stadium committees are partners. But they must put forward their concerns,” Chimhavi said.

About securing Western Province Rugby as anchor tenant at the stadium, Pascoe said this was just one option.

He was responding to WPRU president Tobie Titus’s statement that the union intended to maintain its base at Newlands at least for another five years.

“They make their own decision. There’s nothing we can do with what rugby decides. But we are talking with business analysts who will present a plan (for the stadium) to the city in the new year, at the first council meeting. It will look at the most commercially viable model. Our discussions with the union will continue. But Western Province Rugby Union is but one option.”

The city will have to invest about R120 million to lure the Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) to Cape Town Stadium from Newlands and will have to upgrade certain facilities.

And the public could be paying up over the next five years as the Cape Town Stadium management has requested a total of R224m, including the R120m, in additional funding for the stadium.

The biggest capital budget requests are linked to the relocation of the WPRU from Newlands to Green Point. - Cape Times

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