Nelson Mandela Bay Metro wants to bring top international sport back to the city

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The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro wants to bring top international sport back to the city. The city has a world class stadium which has seen very little top-flight action over the past three years. It has played host to the All Blacks, Bafana Bafana and the World Sevens series before.

The city will use its sport tourism strategy to attract international games. A two-day Sport Summit was just concluded in the metro where the lack of international sport in the city was a hot topic.

Sports federations gathered to put out the same message. The private sector needs to invest more in sport development in the city. Sports facilities throughout the city have also been severely vandalised during the past three years. The metro wants to invest in more infrastructures with a R35-million capital budget.

“We have hosted top international games before and did very well in the past. I guess COVID-19 has had negative impact on our planning, but we are back now, we have a sport tourism strategy. We want to implement all the resolutions implemented at the summit, SARU has approached Western Province to accommodate a game, so we want to put Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium back on the map again,” says Charmaine Williams, Director for Sport, Arts and Culture.

The resolutions were welcomed by the sport federations.

“If big companies can come on board to invest in sport, we can reduce the high levels of crime, it’s the second edition this year and we don’t want this to become a talk show. We do have experience in sport and this can take our kids off the streets and sport plays a pivotal role in South Africa, so these dialogues are extremely important, business must come in, this sport summit will assist us,” says Zolani Bongco, SABC Sport commentator.

“You cannot develop players if there are no facilities, we were taught ways and means of keeping our facilities in good conditions. The summit has added value, so it’s key. As rugby officials, we need business to come in as well, yes municipality is assisting were they can but the summit is great for rugby,” says Mbulelo Gidane, EP Rugby representative.

The summit also provided a platform for sport entrepreneurs.

“It’s an important platform for us to teach sport officials how to start their own businesses, this is the first metro around the country to have a sport summit that have been a success thus far. This must grow nationally and become international because it does have the potential to grow. We are looking for opportunities within sport and this is a great start for us,” says entrepreneur Mosiboli Whitehead.

Another sport summit is planned for next year.