Zululand Observer - Weekender

Players allowed access to new soccer field

- Tamlyn Jolly

MTUBATUBA soccer players will be able to make use of the newly refurbishe­d, stateof-the-art pitch in KwaMsane before it is officially opened by the Department of Sport and Recreation.

This announceme­nt was made last week by Sport and Recreation MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela in her budget speech.

Mtubatuba soccer coach Sheldon Hughes raised the alarm over the poor state of the KwaMsane pitch on which players are forced to play.

Soccer pitches without grass, and littered with rocks, stones and broken beer bottles, are the order of the day in rural Mtubatuba, while the new field, with astro turf, brand new goal posts, grandstand­s and well maintained, irrigated grass around the sides, has been left unused behind a locked gate since the completion of its refurbishm­ent three months ago.

‘Some of our soccer leagues have been suspended owing to the state of the field they are expected to play on,’ said Hughes, who is head coach of Mtubatuba Football Academy, a soccer academy he started to help develop the sport in the area and keep children off the streets.

‘This also means they are unable to put in the training that is required to improve and be competitiv­e against other leagues.’

In her budget speech last week, Mavimbela, who hails from the Mtubatuba region, announced that while the date for the official opening of the new field in question, as well as two others in the region, is yet to be set, communitie­s will in the meantime be allowed access to those fields.

‘The District Academy in the KwaMsane Sport Complex in Mtubatuba has been finalised and will be handed over in August,’ said Mavimbela.

‘In the meantime, I have instructed the HOD to grant access to the community before the official handover.’

 ??  ?? Sheldon Hughes points to the KwaMsane soccer pitch that players are forced to play on while the newly refurbishe­d field has been inaccessib­le since the completion of its refurbishm­ent Tamlyn Jolly
Sheldon Hughes points to the KwaMsane soccer pitch that players are forced to play on while the newly refurbishe­d field has been inaccessib­le since the completion of its refurbishm­ent Tamlyn Jolly
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