Local soccer fans are in for a treat as for the second weekend in a row top-class action is on the cards with Bafana Bafana taking centre-stage against Zambia.
The Buffalo City Metro is proving to be a sporting destination of choice with this weekend’s match the second major sporting event in the space of just six days, after Chippa United triumphed over Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs in the Premier’s Cup at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium this past Saturday.
Bafana will now face Zambia in the first leg of their African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London this coming Saturday afternoon.
General manager in the office of the mayor at BCM, Sthembiso Khanyile said the city has never been more ready to host an international game than they are for this exciting encounter.
“There’s an LOC meeting that sits today [Monday] at 5pm to check on the state of readiness, so yes the ball is rolling and it’s all systems go for Saturday,” said Khanyile.
He said the city will benefit from direct costs such as accommodation. “The team will arrive later this week with the technical team and already we have people who have come to see the game. We are going to have TV crews who will be here ahead of the game. Again we have people who will be coming from around our own province who will be coming into the city for the game and our local businesses are going to make a lot of money,” he said.
Khanyile was certain that hospitality business was going to boom during the course of this week.
“There will be a number of services procured, so the figures when we host a game of this magnitude is from anything between R1-million and R3-million so it’s huge for us.
“All these big games are good for the city, one weekend you are at Sisa Dukashe and another weekend you are at Absa and that showcases all the facilities we have as a city,” he said.
Safa-BCM president Prince Sibam said they were on par with the preperations for the match.
“Today we continue with the LOC [Local Organising Committee] so basically we are still on top of things and even the field is on point,” said Sibam.
Thembisa Mashoba, a parent taking her 13-year-old son to the game, said having the city hosting such games was encouraging to kids who looked up to Bafana players.
“My son loves soccer with his whole heart and I have been taking him to Bafana games. When they played here in March we were at the stadium,” she said.
“I want him to be motivated to follow his dream that is playing for the national team because when he sees his role models he will push for his dream even harder.”
Bafana’s head coach Stuart Baxter’s plans for this game were disrupted when four clubs withdrew 10 players from the 25-man squad he announced last week.
AmaZulu, Highlands Park, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates have all recalled their players including Boalefa Pule, Ayabulela Konqobe, Michael Morton, Mothobi Mvala, Siyabonga Nhlapo, Denwin Farmer, Cole Alexander, Teboho Mokoena and Tercious Malepe, while Riyaad Norodien is on the bench nursing an injury.