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E4BN STADIUM TO BE BUILT IN MANKAYAN

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MANKAYANE – The Mankayane Town Board is pursuing a grand plan to build a 30 000-seater stadium valued at E4 billion.

This stadium is the brainchild of the Board, as confirmed by their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Madlopha, when speaking to the Times SUNDAY this week. The plan comes amid calls for the country to have a proper stadium after the country’s only MECCA Somhlolo National Stadium was banned from hosting international games.

standards

An inspection by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) found that the stadium was not meeting the standards to host international games despite millions of Emalangeni being spent on renovating the venue by government. The proposed new stadium, according to Madlopha, is in line with their vision to be an eco-agri-health-based urban area that offers unmatched serenity, economic opportunities and quality services for all. “The new stadium is in line with our long-term vision of creating an enabling and sustainable environment for development through innovation and stakeholder engagement,” Madlopha, who played as a former left-back for Mbabane Highlanders during his heydays, said.

funds

He said the new stadium’s plan has already been shared with the relevant stakeholders, which include government, Eswatini Sports Council, Eswatini Football Association (EFA) and the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE), among others. He said what was left now was to put this plan into motion by raising the necessary funds. “We are still to develop a business case, which will guide us in soliciting funds to start the construction phase. The business case will determine the strategies that we will use to source proper funding for the project,” Madlopha said. The CEO said the plan was to hire a specialist to put together a viable business case that would appeal to the targeted potential funders. “Obviously, when doing the business case, the consultant will involve everyone including government along with the business community. When developing or presenting this new stadium plans, it went through all the relevant structures including the Sports Council, EFA along with the government (Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs).”

synthetic track

Madlopha said the new stadium will accommodate a number of sporting codes including athletics (synthetic track), volleyball and tennis. In fact, in the plans, there are grants which are stating clearly how the stadium will be structured to accommodate the sporting codes,” the CEO added. He said as part of the plan, the stadium will have a pitch outside, which shall be used for practice matches in the same way renowned sports facilities in the world provide. “The project will be done in stages, but the details of the implementation will be determined by the business case plan,” Sarafina, as Madlopha was affectionately known during his soccer days, told the Times SUNDAY. “The reason we are calling this a business case plan is because we do not want this to appear like service delivery, but we want the stadium to fund itself in terms of construction and maintenance as well.” He said after completing the structure, they would need to have a plan in place on how to raise funds through the structure and be able to manage it as well.

construction

Asked on the projected time frame for starting the construction, Madlopha explained that the business case plan would give proper direction. “The business case will give us an indication on how much will be needed and when this budget can be put together as that would give us possible construction dates. So for now, we do not have a clue of when the project would start,” he said. The CEO pointed out that their dream was that they would not start with the business case without drawing up the design of how they wanted the stadium to look like. He said the business plan would be based on the stadium design. “The Mankayane Town Board recognises stakeholder engagement as of paramount importance towards an endeavour of creating an enabling and sustainable environment.

objective

Being a local authority, under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the primary objective is to deliver in accordance with the needs of the town and the stakeholders within it, to fulfil its overall mission,” Madlopha pointed out. Underpinning this vision is the town’s ecological system and the hub of agricultural activities in the surrounding communities. It is worth noting that Mankayane Town will host this year’s King’s birthday celebration next month. It will be held at the local sports

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