Nelson Mandela Bay’s stadiums worth protecting against vandals

The toilets at the Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide have been completely stripped and the roof removed
JUST A SHELL: The toilets at the Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide have been completely stripped and the roof removed
Image: WERNER HILLS

It is not a secret that sports stadiums in Nelson Mandela Bay are underdeveloped, especially in previously disadvantaged communities.

The Herald has, for years, highlighted how budding sports stars are forced to play in rough and sometimes overgrown fields.

But this has not stopped them playing soccer, rugby, cricket or any other sport, and in the process staying away from crime and other social ills.

This is why it gets troublesome when infrastructure already built is vandalised as that effectively delays the levelling of playing fields.

While the municipality is partly to blame for the vandalism of the stadiums since there are no security guards manning them, communities also have to shoulder the blame.

In an ideal world, communities protect projects built for them.

The municipality should not have to be expected to continue pumping millions of rand into stadiums which are regularly being stripped bare of fences, electricity boxes, cable wires and other valuables.

That is tantamount to throwing water into a bottomless bucket.

Yes, the vandals are not the entire community as the majority of residents are pro-development.

But, equally, not reporting those who have targeted stadiums means residents are complicit in the despicable act.

When the stadiums are vandalised, as it is the case in the Bay, sports-loving youth, some of whom have real potential to turn professional, may become discouraged and turn their backs on sports and sometimes towards a life of crime.

This is largely because of peer pressure, where they may first experiment with cigarettes and then, before they know it, they are abusing alcohol and drugs.

The talent is there in the Bay, but we need our sports facilities to be protected.

We don’t need more thugs on the streets but we need more youngsters to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, SuperSport United skipper Ronwen Williams, Mamelodi Sundowns marksman Kermit Erasmus and the legendary midfielder Daine Klate, among other professional sports stars.

The only way that will happen is for communities and the municipality to work together, guard against vandalism of stadiums, and ensure budding players continue enjoying playing in safe and proper stadiums.

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