Stadium shock for tourney organisers

2011-10-04 00:00

MISCOMMUNICATION between the organisers of the annual football tournament of the South African Learners with Special Educational Needs (Salsen) and the Msunduzi Municipality led to a huge disappointment for the boys, who had been hoping to play at Harry Gwala Stadium yesterday.

The tournament was launched in 2001 and yesterday pupils from eight provinces (excluding the Eastern Cape) came to play in the tournament. But they were shocked to learn that they would not be able to play at the Harry Gwala Stadium because it had not been made ready to host them.

Salsen president Morgan Pillay said, “We were only told at the 11th hour that this venue is only reserved for Premier Soccer League [PSL] matches, which was not what we were told when we were busy with our arrangements for the tournament.”

He said he was prepared to pay for the venue, but his offer was turned down, so they had to look for alternative stadiums.

Most of the available pitches were waterlogged, but they were able to use the FNB Wadley Stadium in Edendale.

“We have produced success stories like Dion Zondi, who went to school at Newton Prevocational School, and Franc Kekana, who was schooling in Pretoria, and they both went for their trials in the United Kingdom,” Pillay said.

“… what happened today is detrimental to the 2010 Fifa World Cup legacy if the local community cannot benefit.”

Maritzburg United chairperson Farouk Kadodia said, “We don’t have exclusive rights to the stadium; we pay just like anyone else …”

He said he was disappointed to hear that the organisers were not told on the eve of the event that they could not use the stadium.

Msunduzi Municipality horticulture and sports facilities manager Sergie Naidu said the tournament organisers did not follow protocol.

“It is not true that the stadium is reserved for PSL games only … people have to book three days before the event so that they can prepare the venue accordingly.”

Naidu said he tried his best to save the day by organising Wadley Stadium.


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