Outcry to save soccer facilities

2017-07-26 06:03
The Sol Plaatje Local Football Association (LFA) vows to forcefully take the FNB artificial soccer pitch and its facilities over in an effort to protect it from vandalism and serving as a crime haven.Photos: Boipelo Mere

The Sol Plaatje Local Football Association (LFA) vows to forcefully take the FNB artificial soccer pitch and its facilities over in an effort to protect it from vandalism and serving as a crime haven.Photos: Boipelo Mere

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The Sol Plaatje Local Football Association (LFA) vows to forcefully take the FNB artificial soccer pitch and its facilities over in an effort to protect it from vandalism and serving as a crime haven.

This once beautiful pitch and facilities were sponsored by FNB six years ago, but it has turned into a crime and drug haven as vandalists started to rip it apart piece by piece.

It was the pride of everyone, as children hoped for the opportunity of playing on it.

According to the LFA, they are sick and tired of pleading endlessly with the municipality to get the official handover of the facilities over and done with.

The LFA executives invited Express Northern Cape to the facilities on Mandela Day (18 July) to witness the manner in which it is being vandalised as everyone watches helplessly and the municipality turns a blind eye.

On the day, the LFA had received a sponsorship and were busy re-installing the main gate of the facilities, as the public has also started using it as a short cut to pass through.

Some soccer activities had been taking place at the pitch ever since it was completed, regardless of the fact that the facilities had been locked.

That was all due to the lack of sports facilities available in the townships.

The children had no access to the water or toilets, nor to the changing rooms.

It was also humiliating when girls had to change in public and stood the risk of being exposed to rapists.

Criminals have helped themselves to the ceilings and cables inside the buildings.

The changing rooms have never been utilised by the beneficiaries, which are the children, as the keys were not available.

The facilities are surrounded by a smell of faeces and urine, as well as used condoms, while the soccer poles are rusted and broken to such an extent that rocks have to be used to keep them steady.

The water pipe burst after the visit, resulting in a stream of water flowing down Long Street and continuing down Phakedi Street in Galeshewe.

“This is a development centre and we refuse to allow it to go to waste, as it is our children’s legacy”, said the second deputy chairperson of LFA, Macdonald Moraladi.

“We do not want to be put in the position of having to explain to our children why we allowed this place to go to waste while they themselves were suffering.

“We are going to look for sponsorship to do repairs here and officially take it over as it has always been our pride.

“We are not going to entertain the municipality’s politics anymore,”

According to Moraladi, they will not let the facilities be vandalised and under-utilised like other soccer grounds.

He further threatened that they will take over the Galeshewe Stadium too, as they see the municipality is already starting to drag its feet with maintaining it.

“The Sol Plaatje Municipality is failing our children. We have seen this happened in Club 2000, Roodepan, Floors and Greenpoint stadiums.

“This should not even be a battle for the municipality to do the handover or the maintenance, because it is right next to a well-maintained cricket ground (Yorkshire).”

Moraladi further assured the municipality that it does not have to waste money by allocating a budget towards the repairs of the place.

“We know that the next thing the municipality will ask from us is to wait for a budget to be allocated in order to do repairs here.

“They do not have to go through wasteful expenditure because we are here to prevent that from happening.

“We will get a caretaker who stays nearby just like it is done at the cricket ground.

“We will use it as the nerve of a development centre of LFA by also setting up an office here,” Moraladi said.

Responding on the stalling of the handover, Marina Meintjies, who is in charge of Community Services at the Sol Plaatje Municipality, commented that she still has to get more information on the matter and get updates. She asked to be given time to familiarise herself with the matter to give feedback to the media.

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