Hoy Park resistance grows

2014-11-06 00:00

THE construction of a state-of-the-art soccer complex in Durban was met with further resistance yesterday, though it did not come in the form of an outraged Berea Rovers Sports Club.

It has now been confirmed that the Hoy Park Sports Complex, if we can still call it that, will be constructed at the King’s Park sporting precinct — a decision that would see Berea Rovers sports club forced to move from a premises that it has occupied for 38 years.

That has fuelled an outcry from Rovers, who have vowed to fight the decision, but yesterday’s move to stop the project came from a different source.

At a press conference at the annual Soccerex African Forum hosted at Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday, plans for the development of the football academy were being unveiled by members of Hoy Park management.

Their partnership with Safa, local and provincial government as well as new stakeholders Liverpool Football Club was being explained, but the response that came was not one of appreciation.

Sudesh Singh, a local coach, grabbed the first question and dropped a bomb on the delegates, stakeholders and journalists who had assembled.

“I speak on behalf of the South African Football Coaches Association, and we make a firm stand to object to this project. We have currently engaged with the [Safa] president Danny Jordaan and we are meeting the technical committee in the coming week,” said Singh. “There is so much contradiction in the presentation … We talk of the Liverpool way, that is one philosophy, and then the technical director [of the academy, Paulo Cardoso] speaks about the South African way, another philosophy. How do you link two philosophies?”

Singh also questioned the use of the taxpayers’ money in the construction of the project.

“Africans cannot be perennial consumers of knowledge or products, we are also producers.

“We have local knowledge and expertise that is world class. There has never been a foreign academy in South Africa that has been successful. It is another form of colonisation.”

Managing director of Hoy Park Management Carlos Catalino confirmed to The Witness that the total cost of the project was estimated to be in the region of R150 million, and that government had committed to a third of the costs.

“What people don’t understand is that these buildings will belong to the province,” he said.

“There is not a single government cent being spent on the operational [aspect]. It is the same thing as government putting up Moses Mabhida Stadium and looking how to operate it. Liverpool are not the owners of the facility. All Liverpool is doing is offering technical know-how and an opportunity to create cohesion.”

A date for the commencement of construction has not yet been identified, though Catalino expected movement “within the next month.”

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