The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Premier Soccer League team Chippa United announced today that the Cape Town based outfit will be making the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium its home ground for at least the next three years.
Although the contract with the club is officially over a three year period as per the legal requirement, Club Chairman, Mr Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi committed the club for the next 20 years to the Eastern Cape Province, which was greeted with satisfaction from the audience.
“We are here to stay. If the municipality would like to change the name, we are open to suggestions. We are not here for selfish reasons or to disappoint because I never imagined that we would leave the small stadium in Philipi to play in a world-class facility like the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Even the Wolfson Stadium (the training facility of the team) is bigger than the stadium that we had,” said Mpengesi who grew up in the Eastern Cape.
Executive Mayor Benson Fihla said: “Comrade Nelson Mandela, after whom this beautiful stadium and our municipality are named after, famously said that sport has the power to change the world. I am reminded of this as we are all here today to make the important announcement of Chippa United relocating to Nelson Mandela Bay to make this amazing stadium their home ground.
“Mr Mpengesi, our agreement will not just give your club the opportunity to compete and practice in top class facilities, it also allows you the opportunity to become part of a growing and developing area. The economic benefits of your relocation to Nelson Mandela Bay cannot be ignored. It far outweighs the R5 million investment that the city will pay annually over the next three years to make the relocation possible. Not only will our residents, long-starved of first class football, be able to see a first class team in action, and claim them as their own, but this will also create an opportunity for tourism and related businesses to thrive.
“With the Soccer World Cup that just ended in Brazil still fresh in our minds; we must inspire young boys and girls to dream about becoming football stars with a local team that performs well and represents the region at the highest level,” Mayor Fihla said.
Football lovers have a major treat as Chippa United will be playing against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs in a friendly match at the stadium on Sunday, 20 July, at 3pm. Their first Premier Soccer League match is against Platinum Stars on 12 August at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Safa Nelson Mandela Bay President, Mr Monde Mhletywa, gave the club a warm welcome on behalf of the local football fraternity.
“Welcome in Nelson Mandela Bay, Chippa United. We know that you are not here for an overnight stay and we hope that your stay is worth your while. We are happy that you chose to come here, as I am sure that you will make a major contribution to the area. I have noticed a change in the team during the negotiations and am convinced that you are not here for money but to develop football in the area,” Mhletywa said.
Chippa United players will arrive in Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday and participate in a road show that will start in Port Elizabeth and go through the Northern Areas, several suburbs in our Townships, Uitenhage and Despatch.
Deputy Executive Mayor Thando Ngcolomba, who led the negotiations on behalf of the municipality, said the R15 million budgeted over the three year period will not be enough as research indicated that the relocation of a Premier Soccer League team cost in the region of R36 million over a three year period.
“We are in contact with the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Arts and Culture to cover the additional costs that will be incurred to bring this team to the Eastern Cape,” he said.
The Municipality opted for a much cheaper option to bring a PSL team to Nelson Mandela Bay as it can cost anything between R50 and R70 million to buy a team that competes in the top league of South African football.
Tickets for Sunday’s clash against Kaizer Chiefs are available at Computicket, Shorite/Checkers and the Stadium at R40 for adults and R20 for children 12 years and younger.
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