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The dilapidated Lesley Manyathela stadium has been a “white elephant” since 2021. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.

Lesley Manyathela stadium remains a 'white elephant' to local clubs

 

The Lesley Manyathela Stadium in Musina, which used to be the home of many teams playing under Safa Vhembe, has fallen into disrepair after the local municipality allegedly failed to maintain the facility for the past four years.

The Musina Municipality set aside more than R1 million to renovate the stadium in 2021, but a recent visit shows that it has become dilapidated. The grass has been left to grow knee-high from the entrance to the grounds. The stadium was named in honour of the late Lesley Manyathela, a prolific former soccer player for Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates, who died in a car accident in 2003.

A community member, Mr Jeffrey Magwira, said the community was tired of waiting for the renovation of the stadium to be completed. “This thing has been here for a long time, and we are tired of seeing it and not being able to use it,” he said. He also complained that the stadium was a hotspot for criminal activities. “People are being mugged there, and no one is saying anything about it. We have, on several occasions, been promised during the municipality’s imbizos that it would be completed, but that has never happened.”

He said they also wanted to know what had happened to the R1 million that had been budgeted for renovation. "What did they do with the money? We want answers from the municipality after [they were] given R1 million from De Beers Venetia Mine to renovate the stadium.”

The chairperson of the Musina Local Football Association, Mr Derrick Mothibi, said that most of the clubs were using fields that they were maintaining on their own. “The [Lesley Manyathela] stadium is our home, and it pains us to see the stadium in such a shocking state. The soccer lovers are here and want to see teams playing here,” he said.

The spokesperson for the Musina Municipality, Mr Wilson Dzebu, said that the municipality had completed phase II by building a wall and a guard room to place a security officer because the stadium was vandalised. The wall has since fallen down. He said that the municipality was waiting for the funds to finish the project. He added that he could not confirm when they were going to finish the project.

 

 

Date:23 March 2024

By: Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

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