The chairman of Black Leopards FC, Mr Tshifhiwa Thidiela. Photo: Frank Mavhungu.
The animosity between Black Leopards FC and Thulamela Local Municipality is hopefully a thing of the past. The relationship between the two parties had gradually soured over the past years. Much of this had to do with the exorbitant charges the club faced for using Thohoyandou Stadium for their home matches.
After unsuccessful negotiations with the municipality to lower the price, Black Leopards decided to turn their backs on the municipality and began playing all their home matches at Collins Chabane’s Malamulele Stadium.
However, the club made a U-turn and returned to playing their home matches at Thohoyandou Stadium at the beginning of the current soccer season. When asked what had prompted them to come back to their traditional home ground, the chairman of Black Leopards, Mr Tshifhiwa Thidiela, said that the Thulamela Municipality had finally listened to their pleas.
Thidiela explained that the municipality had agreed to reduce the tariffs to a reasonable level, and they would now use Thohoyandou Stadium as their primary home ground, while Malamulele and Old Peter Mokaba Stadium would serve as their alternative home grounds.
Lidoda Duvha played their first three matches at Thohoyandou Stadium this season. They lost 0-1 to Casric Stars before defeating Upington City and JDR Stars 1-0 and 2-0, respectively. Their next home match is against Milford FC on Sunday, 28 October.
The spokesperson for Thulamela Local Municipality, Mr Nndwamato Tshiila, confirmed that the clubs were now paying nearly half of the amount they had previously paid for the stadium’s use.
Tshiila stated that an agreement had been reached after a series of meetings between the clubs competing under the auspices of the Motsepe Foundation Championship and the municipality. This arrangement will be valid until 30 June 2024.
Using Thohoyandou Stadium is an expensive endeavour for organisations or clubs. According to the tariffs announced earlier this year, it would cost an organisation R181,886 to utilise the stadium for a full day and night, such as for a music festival. Additionally, a security deposit of R45,471 would be required.
Official rates state that a club playing in the NFD or PSL leagues must pay a refundable security fee of R19,325 per match. The fee for playing at the stadium at night (and collecting gate fees) is set at R28,420.
Date:20 October 2023
Frank is a Human Resources Manager at the Department of Public Works in Limpopo. He is the longest serving correspondent of the Mirror, having joined us at the end of 1990. He mainly writes sports reports and resides at Tsianda Village. In 2004, Frank won the National Castle League Award, an award for the best reporter in the SAB league in South Africa.