The toilets at the stadium can no longer be used. Everything is broken.
“I will be a happier mother and I will have peace of mind for the rest of my life if the municipality removes the name of my son as the name of the stadium. There is actually nothing good about the stadium,” said Gladys Manyathela, mother of the late soccer star, Lesley Phuti Manyathela.
The Manyathela stadium in Musina was named after the prolific striker who played for Orlando Pirates and the South African national team. At the peak of his career, in 2003, Manyathela was the Premier Soccer League’s top goal scorer. He died in an accident that same year.
Limpopo Mirror visited the Manyathela stadium at the end of August this year. We found that the goal posts are broken and most of the ground is covered with tall grass. Broken beer bottles are lying on the terraces. The ablution facilities are in a terrible state, with all the toilets seemingly broken. No maintenance programme appears to be in place.
The dire state of the stadium does not go well with the Gladys Manyathela. When the decision was taken to name the stadium after her son, she thought it would bring some sort of consolation. She thought it would serve as a living monument of her son.
“During the early years, Manyathela Stadium looked good, but now it is something else. It is the stadium of pain. People from all walks of life come to visit me, asking me to take them to Lesley’s grave. I have no problem with that, but I cannot take them to Manyathela Stadium,” said Gladys.
After noticing around 2009 that the stadium was deteriorating, Gladys approached the municipality, but to no avail.
Wilson Dzebu, spokesperson for the Musina Municipality, said the challenges regarding the stadium were being attended to. He promised to comment on the call to remove the name when the time was right to do so.
Date:19 September 2020 - By: Bernard Chiguvare
Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.