Once thought to become a white elephant after the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has now successfully stood firm and remains one of the best venues in South Africa with the stadium celebrating their 10th year anniversary this month.
The construction of the 46,000 seater stadium in Port Elizabeth was started in 2007 ahead of the most anticipated Fifa World Cup which was to be hosted in Africa for the very first very time in 2010.
But after the global showpiece, there were concerns on how the stadium was going to be utilised following the dissolving of Bay United, a club which was once playing in the top-flight football league in the country before they sold their status.
However, over the years, the stadium has not only managed to cater for football with Absa Premiership side Chippa United playing their home games at the venue, they have also catered for rugby, music events, and hosting conferences.
Phil Goduka, chairperson of the Mandela Bay Development Agency, an agency which is responsible for the management of the stadium, said he was really impressed with the milestone they had passed and believed they would grow from strength to strength, even though there had been struggles over the years now and then.
“Look, we have now grown so much in the last couple of years. And in the last three years, we have managed to host many activities in the stadium besides soccer and rugby. We have also managed to host huge concerts and other functions in the stadium, and even though generally the aim of the stadium is not to make profits, we are just glad that we are able bring in some money,” said Goduka.
Another aspect Goduka believes will generate more money to maintain the arena is to attract big games involving Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.
“If we can manage to at least secure two games each from Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns, then at least we know that we will be able to attract huge crowds and make some money to keep the stadium well maintained,” he added.
Next to the stadium, there is a lake which the management of the stadium is also looking to use in order to generate more money by introducing water sports and other activities.