Rugby fever is running high in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape ahead of the clash between the Springboks and Wallabies in the rugby championship this weekend.
Supporters of the Springboks are expected to paint the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium green and gold and proudly represent South Africa.
Confidence amongst the Springboks players and their supporters has multiplied after winning a match against New Zealand. They are ready to cheer on their boys, as the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium has already sold 75% of available tickets.
The Boks have a 4-0 win ratio with one draw out of five tests played. The Springboks have been preparing for this week-end’s game and they are oozing confidence after they beat the All Blacks recently.
Local businesses in and around the Bay will financially benefit from this big sport event which will help the economy.
There is space for 46 000 fans in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and it is expected that the Springboks might just play in front of a full house on Saturday. It is something the stadium is ready for.
“We prepared ourselves adequately and we are still preparing our final touch ups for the weekend. The weather is not playing along but we know it is what it is, by Saturday we should have an electrifying atmosphere with a ready stadium to welcome the world and the city to this iconic facility called the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium,” says Stadium Manager, Mpho Mokonyane.
Port Elizabeth has successfully hosted the World Ironman Championships and also the women’s Cosafa Cup tournament last weekend. The Springboks match is a cherry on the cake of a bumper September for Port Elizabeth. Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela tourism, Glenton De Kock is adamant that this will be another successful event in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
“I think as a collective we are always excited to host a national team particularly the Springboks, coming off a win in New Zealand. The city welcomes events of this nature because we have come off not only hosting the female Cosafa Cup but also the Ironman which was a world championships and for that reason this month has really been a boost for the city at a sporting level, it has also ensured that the infrastructure we have can be showcased to the rest of the world.”
Small businesses are set to benefit from this rugby championship. “I think we’ll make a lot of money with all the fans and internationals here. We are expecting a lot of business and we are very excited,” says one of the business owners.
The Boks fever is also sweeping north with the game against the All Blacks next week at Loftus Versfeld, tickets are already sold out. Author- Olwethu Mbane