JOHANNESBURG – Having been popularly known for hosting indoor sporting codes, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium operators Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) is planning on using the lake that surrounds a quarter of the stadium for external activities in the near future.
Primary built to be one of the venues for the 2010 Fifa World Cup that was held on South African soil, it’s been 10 years since the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay was established in Port Elizabeth.
Over that period, it became a profound sporting ground as it’s hosted some big matches - from the World Cup and Premier Soccer League to South African rugby games.
During the stadium’s 10th anniversary celebrations held yesterday, MBDA chairman Phil Goduka said they were already underway with the purification of the lake as they plan to host water sports such as rowing and swimming.
“We are purifying the water in the lake,” Goduka said. “It’s just small activities left. But once the level of bacteria (is down), and the Nelson Mandela Bay University helps us with that, then you can bring water sports into the mix. After all, we are the only stadium with a lake.”
The World Cup venue has been the home ground to PSL side Chippa United since their relocation from the Western Cape. However, after flirting with relegation last season, there have been rumours about the club being sold by chairman Siviwe Mpengesi.
But Goduka says they are not panicking as they have one more season left in the marriage with the Chilli Boys.
“We don’t know about who’s selling what. We have an agreement through the municipality with Chippa. We are not panicking because we’re looking at other activities to draw people into this stadium,” said Goduka.
Having built a profile by hosting three domestic football finals in the last 10 years, Goduka is adamant that they will have no problem attracting other ways to generate income to keep the stadium in top condition.
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has hosted the 2015 MTN8 final between Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town, the 2015 Nedbank Cup final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax, and the 2018 Nedbank Cup final between Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates.@Mihlalibaleka