Topflight rugby will be back at the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Stadium when the ISUZU Southern Kings kick off their Guinness PRO14 campaign next month.
The ISUZU Southern Kings Board, in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium operator, the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), confirmed at a press briefing on Friday that an agreement has been signed by the two entities which will see the large majority of the Eastern Cape rugby franchise’s Guinness PRO14 matches back at the world-class NMB Stadium for the upcoming 2019/20 season.
Following much public interest and speculation around the venue that will host the home matches of the Kings team, the matter was resolved following detailed discussions between the Kings, NMB Stadium management, the MBDA and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
The GRC, the majority shareholder in the ISUZU Southern Kings, had made it clear from the onset that they were intent on making the NMB Stadium the home venue for all ISUZU Southern Kings home fixtures.
“We are very excited about the renewal of the partnership between the ISUZU Southern Kings and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. We are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship,” ISUZU Southern Kings Chairman, Loyiso Dotwana, said.
“We trust that the rugby-loving public will flock back in their numbers to watch our new-look side that is already showing plenty of promise. The Eastern Cape rugby followers are known for bringing an electric atmosphere to stadia, and we are confident we will once again experience that great vibe through their support.
“The NMB Stadium is a world-class facility which hosts quality events and also remains the training venue and administrative home where the offices of the franchise are based. So it is only logical that a competition of international stature and quality like the Guinness PRO14 which will bring top-class European clubs and international players to our own backyard.
“We could also not have asked for a better start to our new season than playing our opening three matches at home. We hope to see the people of the Eastern Cape filling this stadium when we take on Cardiff Blues, Munster and Ulster in those matches, and also for the rest of our home matches.”
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Manager, Mpho Mokonyama said: “We welcome the ISUZU Southern Kings back to the NMB Stadium as we prepare for the 2019/2020 Guinness PRO14 season.
“As a collective, we are in the business of sports entertainment and ensuring that we bring attractive events to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and the entire Metropole at large. Moreover, with the imminent return of the ISUZU Southern Kings to the NMB Stadium, there is diversity and a new sporting dimension added to our busy Stadium yearly calendar.
“The addition of the rugby fixtures into our calendar will create excitement and ensure that the rugby-loving community will be thoroughly entertained at our venue. We fully support the team and their endeavors for the upcoming Guinness PRO14 season”.