umlilo will open stadium

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Bay United and Lamontville Golden Arrows are set to make history by being the first to play at the new Nelson Mandela Bay Sports Complex in Port Elizabeth in May.

This comes after the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality announced this week that a big soccer game will mark the opening of this R1,5 billion 2010 World Cup venue.

It was earlier reported that a rugby game featuring the touring British Lions and a Coastal XV would be the first event to take place at the venue on June 16.

Bicks Ndoni, the municipality's deputy mayor, said negotiations were at an advanced stage with Umlilo to play a match at the new facility on May 9.

The only official fixture United will play at home in May is that against Abafana Bes'thende. It is also their last Absa Premiership match for the 2008-2009 season.

"We are happy that the construction of the sports complex is nearing its end, that is why we have started with the plans to open it in a big way," said Ndoni.

"Bay United are the pride of the Eastern Cape province since they are the only professional soccer outfit from this area.

"We are targeting one of their league games, but in June there will be a big rugby game featuring British Lions on Youth Day.

"Everything is going according to plan with the construction of the facility, the steel structure of the roof is 70 percent completed.

"The constructors will start with the paving job in March, while the installation of floodlights will tale place in the first week of April.

"The construction of the roads around the stadium is also under way, we are excited that we will deliver a world- class sports facility to Fifa."

There were other road and transport projects in the municipality, which include KwaZakhele, Uitenhage and New Brighton, in preparation for the World Cup.