2015-10-29 06:00
HOLDING HANDS: Fikile Mbalula, minister of Sport, Petrus Molemela, Lifetime president of Bloemfontein Celtic, and Ace Magashule, premier of the Free State.

HOLDING HANDS: Fikile Mbalula, minister of Sport, Petrus Molemela, Lifetime president of Bloemfontein Celtic, and Ace Magashule, premier of the Free State.

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THE majestic Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium was officially re-opened on Wednesday, 20 October.

Previously known as the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium, the facility was closed in 2011 to allow for renovations to take place there.

The stadium was reopened by Free State Premier Ace Magashule. He was joined by the minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, the Mangaung Metro’s executive mayor, Thabo Manyoni, and MECs.

Speaking at the event, Mbalula praised the Free State government for renaming the stadium in honour of Petrus Molemela.

“Today I want to commend you – the premier, the mayor and MECs – for the wonderful job that you have done here. I want to declare you winners,” said Mbalula.

“Ntate Molemela, you became the light to us when it was dark. You have brought us this wonderful club nicknamed Phunya Sele Sele. Thank you for the contribution that you have made to sport in our country. We are happy to honour you while you are still alive. From now on, this stadium will be known as the Dr Molemela Stadium,” he said.

Mbalula added that Celtic should use the stadium as their fortress and make sure that every team that visits them go back home empty-handed.

However, Celtic were beaten 1-0 on the same day by Mamelodi Sundowns in a historical match that marked their return to the stadium that used to be their slaughter house. Molemela, meanwhile, expressed his delight with the renaming of the stadium.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the political leaders in the Free State for naming this stadium after me. I really lack words to express how I feel about this rare honour. I am so humbled,” said Molemela. The 18 000-seat stadium, which includes a new athletics track, reportedly cost an estimated R368 million to be built. The Rocklands-based venue hosted the MultiChoice Diski Challenge this past weekend.

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