10 October 2010 by Roy Barford

Sustainable income needed for Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Some of the most exciting rugby players in South Africa come from the scenic Eastern Cape, which is partly why I’m hoping to see the Southern Kings being promoted to the Super Rugby competition no later than the suggested date of 2013.

The presence of Super Rugby in the region would boost visitor numbers and provide sustainable income for the 45 000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, which hosted eight matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium hosted Serbia’s 1-0 upset victory against Germany in the first round of the tournament , as well the Netherlands’ shock 2-1 win against the much-fancied Brazilians in the quarter-finals. Germany returned to Port Elizabeth to beat Uruguay 3-2 in the Third Place play-off.

I am, however, most excited by the prospect of the Super Rugby, as I believe there is a vast amount of untapped potential in the Eastern Cape, and I would love to see quality players like Brent Russell, Luke Watson and the Ndungane twins return home and play their part in inspiring younger generations.

The stadium is now the home of the Eastern Province Kings, who play in the Currie Cup First Division at present, but will be known as the Southern Kings when they are promoted to Super Rugby.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will also likely host Bafana Bafana soccer matches as well as Springbok rugby matches in years to come.

I am, however, most excited by the prospect of the Super Rugby, as I believe there is a vast amount of untapped potential in the Eastern Cape, and I would love to see quality players like Brent Russell, Luke Watson and the Ndungane twins return home and play their part in inspiring younger generations.

South African rugby has its roots in the Eastern Cape, and much more needs to be done to revive the game in this region, from which South Africa’s first two presidents - Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki - originally came.

Category: Sport

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