JOHANNESBURG – “We are not appreciated by the municipality of Ekurhuleni.”
Those were the words of upset Highlands Park football director Sinky Mnisi as he lamented the below-par treatment that they’ve got from the executives of Ekurhuleni regarding the unsatisfactory conditions of Makhulong Stadium.
In a territory that was supposed to be their fortress, Highlands appeared to have reached their full stride at home last season as they made Makhulong their slaughterhouse - holding Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs to draws, while beating SuperSport United, Cape Town City and Bidvest Wits respectively.
However, Mnisi argues had they had an immaculate pitch and user friendly stadium infrastruc
ture for their supporters and officials, they would have surpassed their record eighth finish in the Premiership.
“It’s sad that today we’ve got to inform that the decision of Highlands Park continuing to play here (at Makhulong Stadium), solely depends on the municipality of Ekurhuleni,” Mnisi said in Tembisa yesterday.
“In the past five years that we’ve been here, we’ve never been supported in any way by the municipality. We are bringing football to the people and we have changed lives, and we want to put food on the table. But in the past years that we’ve been here, we’ve been literally begging the municipality to help us - financially and to at least prepare this field.”
"We are not here to blackmail anyone. We just putting facts to you as they are. Please visit the field after this and take a for yourself". pic.twitter.com/XgViizLaE2— Highlands Park FC (@HighlandsP_FC) June 4, 2019
Despite numerous interactions with the Director of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Atwell Sijadu, Mnisi concedes that he was sold empty promises during their meetings.
Moreover, despite Highlands being the only team from Ekurhuleni that’s plying their trade in the Premier Soccer League, the city’s mayor Mzwandile Masina is yet to officially congratulate the team for its promotion to the elite league.
Mnisi, who’s been with the club for almost 10 years, believes that the political war between the north and south parts of Ekurhuleni has been the cause.
“It’s sad today that Tsakane Stadium has a pitch that’s in immaculate condition but since they do not meet the required conditions of the PSL, they can’t host football in Tsakane.
There are high elevators there for the disabled people and for those with tired legs, but here there’s nothing like that.”@Mihlalibaleka