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Durban’s ABSA stadium — the home of the Super 14 Shark franchise –could become a tennis stadium or part of a “high performance centre”, it was announced on Saturday.

 

Head of Strategic Projects at the eThekwini Municipality, Julie-May Ellingson, said the plan was for the 2010 Moses Mabhida Stadium to host rugby, soccer and athletics.


Speaking at a press conference at the International Convention
Centre in Durban she said negotiations were continuing with the Sharks to get them to move to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which is currently under construction.


While no final decision had been made, the area in which the ABSA stadium was located would be a high performance centre which could be turned into a sports academy and a sports science centre, she said.


The plan was for ABSA stadium to be “downscaled” and possibly become a tennis stadium.


Currently Durban’s main tennis stadium — West Ridge Stadium — is on the other side of the city, several kilometres away from the city’s planned sports precinct.


“Negotiations [with the Sharks] are going very well. We’re offering
the Sharks a world class stadium,” Ellingson said.


She pointed out that ABSA Stadium (formerly Kings Park Rugby Stadium) was a 65-year old stadium but that any decision for the Sharks to move, was theirs.


Feasibility studies on the high performance centre were being conducted.

 

Referring to the construction of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, she said that all the material from the demolished Kings Park Soccer Stadium had been re-used in the building of the new stadium.


Earlier in the day, Ellingson, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele, Durban city manager Mike Sutcliffe and Durban Mayor Obed Mlaba accompanied Fifa president Sepp Blatter on a visit to the Moses Mabhida Stadium.


 

Blatter received an enthusiastic welcome from construction workers — who less than a week ago were engaged in a strike for improved performance bonuses, better safety conditions and better working conditions for sub-contracters.


Blatter said: “One can feel the emotion of the people. It is an African kick-off.”


Sutcliffe said that every worker who had worked on the  construction of the stadium would have his name immortalised in a “peoples park” which would be built and list all the workers names.

Sapa

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