Soccer bosses angered by City pulling plug on events

Football club bosses in Milnerton have accused the City of Cape Town of leaving them in the lurch by pulling the plug on two tournaments this year without telling them.

The Easter and the June 16 tournaments have been held annually at the Telkom Sports Complex in Phoenix with City funding. But without the City’s support this year, the tournaments didn’t happen and the club bosses say they are losing players as a result.

On average, it costs the City R42 800 a month to maintain the facility’s two fields.

According to mayoral committee member for community services and health Dr Zahid Badroodien, “some months, the facility may need top-dressing and resorting of the grass, while other months only require mowing.”

Stability Football Club owner Albert Bobotyana said the City had communicated with them monthly, but things had changed over the past year.

“We want to know why certain tournaments have stopped and equipment for sports like football and netball has also stopped coming.

“We always had meetings and a good relationship with them, but now we are being left in the dark,” he said.

The clubs hold weekly practices at the sports complex for youth in the community, but Mr Bobotyana said they were starting to skip the sessions and games meant to give them a positive outlet.

Ward 4 councillor Wandisile Ngeyi said Telkom had previously owned the sports complex but it was now owned by the City.

“We work with the clubs with regard to the tournaments that take place at the complex.

“And we often meet with the municipal facility management committee (MFMC), who help facilitate meetings between the City and the clubs,” he said.

Ncedo Masaza, from Young Aces Football Club, accused the councillor of doing more for other sporting codes, such as boxing, than he did for football.

But Mr Ngeyi said the football club bosses should meet with him to discuss their grievances.

“I can facilitate and co-ordinate sound discussions between the clubs, the municipal facility management committee and the City officials.

“We should have open discussions and find amicable solutions,” he said.

Dr Badroodien said the tournaments had been called off because of water restrictions and the same thing had happened at several other fields across the city.

The fields had improved markedly thanks to the winter rains but were still not up to standard, he said.

“The local councillor (Mr Ngeyi) has also allocated R40 000 for the new financial year for sport and recreation senior programmes and R60 000 for community recreation programmes,” he said.

Dr Badroodien said the City’s recreation and parks department had been in communication with the MFMC and that some members of the Local Football Association were represented at the MFMC as well.

He said the last feedback with the MFMC had been on Thursday May 30.

Mathobela Nhose, of Young Chiefs FC, said they often had to use their own money to do repairs at the complex and water the fields.

Mr Bobotyana said the City should hire people from the neighbourhood to look after the complex.

Dr Badroodien said the City had a long-standing working relationship with the South African Football Association Western Cape, which represented the clubs.

“The City’s main responsibility is to provide and maintain public sporting facilities to enable clubs to book and use these for practice sessions, matches or tournaments,” he said.

Mr Ngeyi vowed that the annual Councillor’s Tournament would be held in September at the sports complex.