Mpho Mokonyana promised to bring a fresh perspective when he took the reins as the new manager of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium earlier this week.
He was appointed as the stadium manager on Wednesday, taking over from acting manager Jaco Diedericks, and boasts a wealth of experience in sports and business development, event management and sponsorship recruitment.
“I have a huge task ahead but a very exciting one,” Mokonyana, 39, said.
“This is an opportunity to provide Nelson Mandela Bay and the wider Eastern Cape with a fresh new perspective of the stadium to ensure that the legacy is carried over and that the ship remains stable.”
His appointment follows little more than a month after former Mandela Bay Development Agency boss Pierre Voges’s contract ended to help the MBDA and municipality draft a commercial plan and anchor tenants agreement for the stadium.
Mokonyana has diplomas in sports management and business communications, as well as qualifications in financial management and sports law.
His extensive CV includes positions that saw him managing major sporting events and securing crucial sponsorship deals for some of the country’s leading sport franchises, including top-tier rugby franchise the Blue Bulls and soccer club Kaizer Chiefs.
He said his priority was to identify ways to increase the stadium’s income and draw new events.
“I feel it is essential to increase the stadium’s revenue and ensure this iconic asset is used to its fullest potential with a bursting and solid events calendar,” he said.
MBDA acting chief executive Ashwin Daya said Mokonyana had stood out among the list of highly qualified candidates from across the country.
“What we really need is an individual who can build solid commercial partnerships and start to turn the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium into a strong income generator.
We believe Mokonyana is that person,” Daya said.
City manager Johann Mettler, who formed part of the interview panel, said Mokonyana could count on the Bay’s full support to make the stadium “sweat for the city and its people”.
“We welcome Mpho with full confidence that the MBDA has found the best available candidate,” he said.