Cautious reaction to team move

NELSON Mandela Bay soccer personalities expressed different views about the planned marriage between the metro municipality and Cape Town professional soccer team Chippa United.

United boss Siviwe "Chippa" Mpengesi is in closed-door discussions with the 2010 World Cup stadium management about moving the club to Port Elizabeth.

Apparently, Mpengesi verbally agreed to bring some of his team's home games and all the cup matches to the city for three seasons but municipal representatives want United to relocate to Port Elizabeth permanently.

Nothing has been concluded so far and the public will only know the outcome of the discussions next week.

South African Football Association (Safa) life member Boya Chetty said it would be a waste of money by the municipality to pay United to play few of their matches in the city.

"They should rather buy that franchise instead of supporting the team financially. Professional football is wanted in the Eastern Cape and it will take us a long time to produce our own homegrown team."

He said the municipality was under a lot of pressure from football fanatics since the region held none of the Premiership league matches at the stadium in the 2013-14 season and they desperately needed top-flight football in the city next season.

Former Banyana Banyana coach Nomalungelo Mooi said it would be a great idea for the city to have a top-flight football team if the deal was about moving United permanently to the Eastern Cape, because the city would benefit economically. "But if the deal means the team will only bring certain games to PE then I see that as a waste of our resources that could have been used to develop junior structures in the region."

She said the lack of support from government and the corporate sector made it impossible for the province, especially Port Elizabeth, to have its own professional team.

NMMU sports manager Mark Tommy also said it would be a good deal if United relocated to Port Elizabeth. "... we don't know what the deal they are discussing entails, but it should be a business component deal in terms of economics and reviving football in the region."

Former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana player Patrick Mayo said the Eastern Cape needed a professional team based in the province. "It will be wise if the municipality negotiates with Chippa to move permanently to the city, otherwise it will be a waste of money if their deal is the same as the one it signed with Maritzburg United in the 2012-13 season." - Mthetho Ndoni