Sharks might play at Moses

2014-12-30 00:00

THE possibility of the Sharks playing rugby at Moses Mabhida Stadium (MMS) exists.

Stadium management has entered into discussions with the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union (KZNRU) and Sharks CEO John Smit told The ­Witness yesterday that there could be “one or two games” played at the 2010 Fifa World Cup venue.

It is not clear when this might ­happen because discussions between the Sharks and the city have only just begun.

“It’s important that we are clear, King’s Park is not going anywhere,” Smit said. “There is no threat to ­supporters. We want to do whatever we can for Durban to become the ­premier sporting destination in the country.”

Smit added that had worked hard to restore the union’s relationship with the city and it would “be great” if all three of the province’s major franchises — the Sharks, Dolphins and AmaZulu — could “work together to make MMS sustainable”.

The aim is to make the most of the majestic venue and stadium manager Vusi Mazibuko says all stakeholders will be consulted in early 2015 how best to do that.

This will see the Sharks, Dolphins and AmaZulu locked in a boardroom discussion that will seek to ensure all parties benefit economically.

The prospect of MMS hosting rugby and cricket matches, in addition to the AmaZulu’s PSL fixtures it already houses, is just one of the issues to be discussed, said Mazibuko.

“The end goal is to create an environment where all parties benefit. We cannot force a union to play at MMS,” he said.

KZNRU president Graham Mac­kenzie could not confirm or deny that the Sharks would play any matches at MMS but said the union’s relationship with the city was improving.

“We are talking to the city and to Durban Tourism to try secure more Test matches in Durban,” he said.

“We will do what makes economic sense. If there is a certain fixture that requires us to play there, then we’d have to talk about that. We want to come up with workable solutions.”

Mazibuko said he didn’t see a problem with making alterations to MMS so that the venue could house cricket, while Dolphins CEO Jesse Chellan highlighted potential obstacles.

“At this stage, only T20 matches would be played there. It would require an expensive undertaking to alter the field to enable one-day and longer matches to be played,” he said.

“The straights are fine, but the square boundaries would need to be extended. Obviously, a drop-in pitch would be used. How it would impact on rugby and soccer — how the stadium would cope and accommodate all three disciplines — needs plenty of discussion and planning. Cricket needs short grass, rugby and soccer longer grass.”

Current MMS tenants, AmaZulu, intend to keep the stadium as their home said PR and communications manager Philani Mabaso.

“There is a reason we chose it,” he said. “We average between 6 000 to 7 000 at MMS compared to 3 000 to 4 000 at Princess Magogo [their alternate venue in KwaMashu].

“There is nothing stopping all three brands working together. We want to be part of the solution. If there was a need for us to move a game to King’s Park, we would not be against that, provided the agreement is also for our benefit.”

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