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Msunduzi Mayor – Maritzburg United Will Use Harry Gwala Stadium But…

The Msunduzi executive mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla says Maritzburg United are not thrown out of using Harry Gwala Stadium but he will sit down with his council to map the way forward on how they can accommodate them.

Thebolla just as he sat down with his council to award Royal AM a tender to use Harry Gwala Stadium as part of a R27 million sponsorship deal over three years.

He recently told iDiski Times that there was no way they were not going to have top flight football this season because of the projected spin off through tourism sector, hospitality and small business.

It is why they went all out to sponsor Royal AM, whose Royal Ranch (their club house) is eight kilometres away from the city, to keep this spin off going since Maritzburg United went down to the Motsepe Foundation Championship.

As the Team of Choice suffered their demise, the municipality opted to terminate the contract, as it included a clause that stated remaining in the top flight league will see them get the financial backing from the municipality — which has now gone to MaMkhize.       

“That is the subject of discussion because of course this is a public facility. Officially it is the home of Royal AM but still remains a public facility,” said Thebolla to this publication when asked where Maritzburg will play next season.

“Maritzburg now plays in the Motsepe Foundation Championship. For now we are working on dealing with small issues on other facilities and for now this is the only facility (that meets top flight football).

“The other one – Woodburn Stadium, which is for rugby, depending on what they are doing at Woodburn Stadium, I believe Maritzburg will use this facility but of course provided their fixtures don’t clash with Royal AM’s because this is the home of Royal AM.

“But let me put this on record, we love Maritzburg United.”

Officially, Royal AM and Msunduzi municipality signed that R27 Million sponsorship during the club’s launch event ahead of the 2023/24 season in a show stopper party at the stadium, where Royal AM boss Shauwn Mkhize and her son Andile Mpisane signed a contract with Thebolla in front of his council.  

Harry Gwala Stadium’s walls have all changed to Royal AM colours, with all those of Maritzburg blue colours removed.

Thebolla was asked what will happen, if Maritzburg gets promoted at the end of next season, whether that means they would they rekindle the sponsorship?

“That is subject of discussion and I’m sure we will cross that bridge when we get there,” replied Thebolla.

Maritzburg accused the municipality that this deal with Royal AM was already in waiting, if Maritzburg United got relegated and Thebolla said that was far from the truth.

“No, it was not,” he said.

“It is the wisdom of the council that when we report that the sponsorship comes to an end and we terminate the contract because the conditions are, immediately you get relegated, that is terminated.

“The council and its wisdom advised the mayor (me) and municipal manager to go and look for a team. If my negotiation skills are good enough that it took four days to get Royal AM, then it is our good negotiation skills.”

On Friday, the official Motsepe Foundation Championship fixtures were released, with Harry Gwala Stadium listed as Maritzburg’s home ground, starting off with a home clash against Milford FC on Friday, 25 August.

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN.