Spurs against lolly for big club

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

National First Division side Witbank Spurs are furious over the Mpumalanga government's proposals to lure Kaizer Chiefs to play some of their home matches at Atlantic Stadium for R350 000 a match.

"What have we done to deserve this?" asked an angry Thabo Moroape, Spurs' spokesman.

"We have been engaging the government for financial support, but all we got from them was that they don't have a budget.

"Where does this money they want to pay one of the richest teams in South African football, come from?"

This is not the first time the provincial government invites a team from outside the province to come and play their home games in Mpumalanga.

In the 2005-06 season the government, through the Mpumalanga Tourism Authority (MTA), proposed that Dynamos, who were then based in Limpopo, play some of their home games at KaNyamazane Stadium, also for R350000.

But that never happened after Spurs protested.

Spurs, who are operating without financial backing, are solely relying on the NFD monthly grant of R45 000.

Moroape said in October last year they had a meeting with the then MEC for culture, sports and recreation, Nomsa Mtsweni - who has since been replaced by Jabu Mahlangu - to discuss a possible monthly grant from the provincial government.

"We requested a R50000 grant a month. We later received a call from the director of sports, Vincent Gana, who verbally told us that the department doesn't have a budget," said Moroape.

Desmond Golding, Mpumalanga 2010 coordinator, confirmed the Chiefs deal.

"We have various projects that the government in the province is pursuing as part of the build-up for 2010. Among them is the Chiefs' deal. We want to stimulate the enthusiasm for soccer before the World Cup," said Golding.

Asked why not Spurs, because they are the only team in the province playing in a senior league and stand a good chance of promotion, Golding said: "2010 doesn't deal with development of sports."

Jomo Cosmos' owner Jomo Sono, whose team was the first Premiership team to play in the province when they played to a 1-all draw against Moroka Swallows in January, said: "We corresponded with [former MEC] Mtsweni about being funded for the game but never received any response from her office."

Sono said Spurs should not be left out of funding plans.

"Cosmos will still approach the Mpumalanga 2010 office because we want to host our game against Orlando Pirates on April 8 at Atlantic Stadium."