DURBAN - CHATSWORTH residents have hailed Royal AM football club owners’ decision to choose Chatsworth Stadium as the club’s home ground.
The suburb was abuzz with excitement on Wednesday, after Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson Dr Irvin Khoza announced on Tuesday afternoon that the league had approved the purchase of Bloemfontein Celtics by Shauwn Mkhize and her son Andile Mpisane.
The pair, who hail from Durban, co-owned the GladAfrica national first division league outfit Royal AM, which won an automatic promotion to PSL by finishing on top of the league last season, but were relegated to runners-up after Sekhukhune Football Club was awarded three points following a dispute the club had lodged against Polokwane FC for fielding an unregistered player. After clinching the Bloemfontein Celtics deal, Mkhize announced Chatsworth Stadium would be the club’s home ground.
Chatsworth resident Babs Moodley, who was jogging inside the stadium on Wednesday, said it was great news to hear that Chatsworth Stadium would be busy again. He hailed Royal AM’s decision and said he had no doubt the news was welcomed by all in Chatsworth.
Businessman Gregory Naidoo, who owns a petrol station just across the stadium, was also over the moon about the news. He had been following the reports about a possible deal between Royal AM and Bloemfontein Celtics closely, and was very excited on Tuesday when he heard that the deal had been finalised.
“For us, as business people, it means great economic opportunities would come our way. We are very grateful to Mkhize and her son for choosing the people of Chatsworth. We can imagine the economic spin-offs that come with her decision. We will give the club our full support,” said Naidoo.
Mazwi Manzini, who sells cooked food to mainly RK Khan Hospital staff, said it was also a great opportunity for him and others, who are small business owners, to go and sell food to football fans whenever there are games. Manzini, a former soccer player himself, said he was also happy for the youngsters who would be able to watch top flight football, without travelling out of Chatsworth. He called on the Education and Sports and Recreation Departments to revive school sports because that was where most of the talents were unearthed in their time.
Chatsworth Local Football Association vice-president Tiny Kistan was also excited at the news and said it was a dream come true for his association, who had suffered a lot when the Chatsworth-based club Manning Rangers sold the club status and left football.
He thanked Royal AM owners and said they could have chosen any stadium around Durban, but chose Chatsworth.
The stadium is the biggest after Moses Mabhida and Jonsson Kings Park, in terms of capacity in Durban. It has two grandstands, with the capacity of 30 000, but another 10 000 can be seated. It has about 100 VIP suites.