All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa
As part of their preparations for the 2010 World Cup finals, the Ekurhuleni Municipality has put aside R139 million to upgrade the four main soccer stadiums in the area.
Joe Mojapelo, general manager of the World Cup and special projects for the municipality, identified the four stadiums as Makhulong (Tembisa), Sinaba (Daveyton), Vosloorus and Katlehong.
"We are using R46 million to upgrade Makhulong, R28million for Vosloorus, R45million for Sinaba and R20million for Katlehong.
"The plan is to make sure that they are world-class facilities that will also be used for international matches.
"We have already started with the process of upgrading the stadiums in Vosloorus, Sinaba and Katlehong," said Mojapelo, who added that the municipality awarded a tender to a construction company on Monday to refurbish Makhulong Stadium.
"Makhulong has already been closed for soccer, but we had to make a concession after Classic [a Vodacom League side owned by Sinky Mnisi] approached us with a request to use the facility for their Nedbank Cup last-32 match against Vasco Da Gama on Saturday.
"The upgrading of Makhulong Stadium is expected to start in two weeks' time. As for Katlehong, the process will end in June this year. As for the other three facilities, they will be completed between February and March 2009."
Mojapelo said that the Gauteng provincial government, through MEC Barbara Creecy's department of sport, recreation, arts and culture, is also involved in the upgrading of Sinaba Stadium as a legacy project. The Gauteng government has identified Sinaba as one of the World Cup training venues in the province.
Mojapelo said access to the four popular facilities and seating arrangements would also be user friendly for disabled people.
Joseph Matiea, Safa Ekurhuleni regional secretary, was delighted with the upgrades.
"It will also put us in a good position to bid to host major international games which will also boost the economy of our municipality," he said.