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HomeMotsepe Foundation ChampionshipMaritzburg's Open Letter To Msunduzi Municipality: Don't Abandon Us

Maritzburg’s Open Letter To Msunduzi Municipality: Don’t Abandon Us

Maritzburg United have published an open letter labelled “cry to the Msunduzi Municipality” after news broke that they decided to enter into a new partnership with Royal AM over the use of the Harry Gwala Stadium.

The Team of Choice, who have been using Harry Gwala Stadium as their home base, saw their sponsorship with Msunduzi municipality prematurely come to an end after they were relegated last season – with staying in the topflight being one of the conditions in the contract, as per the municipality.

Mzunduzi, in fear of losing out financially as Maritzburg will not be playing in the top flight, have entered a new partnership agreement with Royal AM, understood to be worth R27 million over the next three years.

Maritzburg, in a strongly worded statement on their website, said from their understanding the partnership with Royal AM was just a matter of time since “that there was a team in waiting until the opportunity arose.” 

The club asked the Msunduzi Municipality to not abandon them and keep the partnership going, saying “let’s not put politics or race to be a driving force in your vote in ignoring us.”

Below is Maritzburg’s statement in full:

1. Don’t switch off our brand – since 2003 marketed as Team of Choice in the City of Choice. 

2. Believe in us like your predecessors in 2007 who supported us in our fight back to the PSL in 2008. There was no desperation in hunting a new tea,” said Maritzburg in the statement.

3. Our return to football in 2003 was driven in our belief in promoting social cohesion and bringing people from diverse cultures to our Harry Gwala Stadium. Was that not that achieved with admiration? 

4. In 2005 we purchased the Tembisa Classic to herald the launch of PSL football in our city.

5. Big brand coaches and players were signed to relocate to Pietermaritzburg.

6. All this and ten years went by with no financial funding until 2013 when councillors saw the foresight and value in a PSL team.

7. This support resulted positively with four top eight finishes and two runner up cup finals.

8. Pietermaritzburg. families were the beneficiaries of their sons finding life changing opportunities; Bonginkosi Hlongwane, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Bandile Shandu among them.

9. It was only due to diligent trading of players that we could sustain a business model to survive.

10. The support at Harry Gwala must not go unnoticed when Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates acknowledge that Harry Gwala is one of few away matches they face, all this comes out from a process of marketing.

11. Let’s not put political or race to be a driving force in your vote in ignoring us.

It was premature to comment that our stadium would become a white elephant, we are still here!! 

Team of choice/Maritzburg United always had a marketing value as throughout the country fans identified with the City of Choice. 

Is this not enough motivation as to why we need support in both facilities and a token financial support to bounce back to the PSL, or will it be the fear of hosting two PSL teams? 

It has become a known perception that there was a team waiting until the opportunity arose. 

To all the councillors of MSUNDUZI, go back to the drawing board and acknowledge the good that was brought in our twenty years of football thus far. Give us your support.

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.