It’s do or die today – and Port Elizabeth needs to deliver a complete “black-out” of the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium to see off the Lions.
Win or lose today – is one of the most important days in the history of our city and rugby in the Eastern Cape. At 7:10pm, 15 men dressed in the Kings’ black will run onto the pitch at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium. They carry with them the dreams of a city in need of hope. It’s a responsibility that we are sure Darron Nell, Alan Solomons and their charges are not taking lightly.
But what are we as a city going to be doing to support them? Tonight when the Lions emerge from the players’ tunnel to face our Southern Kings they should be met by a sea of black. They are not only playing the 15 men on that field – they are playing the over 1 million people who live in this city. Deafened by the noise and shocked by the sight of our supporters they should be left in no doubt that we will not give up our chance to play at the highest level without a fight.
This is a call to action. We need the rugby-loving public of this city to show that the faith shown in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Southern Kings was not misplaced. If we do not, the battle will be lost before it is even fought.
There are still some tickets for tonight’s game. Get there! Don’t leave a single seat empty. Show you care and show the world the spirit with which you have supported your team in the Vodacom Super 15. What has happened this year at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium has been amazing and infectious – not only in the city but across South Africa.
We as a city, as a region, have proven one thing; we deserve the right to take part at the highest level. Despite being rank outsiders we managed to win some games and run some of the most established teams in the tournament close. Take into account that we only had four months to build a team and prepare for our first season in the most demanding tournament in world rugby.
We are a community who were starved of rugby and we have shown our appreciation for the opportunity provided by the South African Rugby Union over the last season.
Winning this playoff series will have a myriad of positive spinoffs. It will mean stability on the rugby field, it will mean having a product which will be attractive to possible commercial partners and it will mean continued economic gain thanks to the presence of big-time rugby in the province.
In order to make the stadium viable we need to have a professional team as an “anchor tenant”. The stadium has the potential to become one of the main drivers of the city’s economy.
SARU commissioned Grant Thornton to do a study of the economic impact which hosting two major events at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium had on the economy of the city. The 2011 IRB 7s tournament generated R154-million. The total direct vendor spend was R87-million, the contribution to tax was R30-million, the flow to low income homes was R32-million and it sustained a total of 690 jobs both temporary and permanent to the tune of R53-million.
The 2012 England test figures were as follows:
- Total Economic Impact: R167-million
- Total direct visitor spend: R104-million
- Contribution to government tax: R34-million
- Flow to low income households: R35-million
- Jobs sustained: 734/ R61-million
- % of Visitors from Outside Eastern Cape: 47% (around 21 150)
The 2012 IRB 7?s figures were as follows:
- Total Economic Impact: R154-million
- Total direct visitor spend: R83.3-million
- Contribution to government tax: R10-million
- Flow to low income households: R17.3-million
- Jobs sustained: 500/ R33-million
- % of Visitors from Outside Eastern Cape: 40% South Africa and 18% Foreign
These are numbers a flagging economy like ours cannot ignore. In Johannesburg the impact of not having a Vodacom Super 15 franchise is negligible when it comes to the city’s domestic product. The truth is we need it – they can live without it.
Whatever happens tonight when the final whistle blows the team, the staff at the stadium and the people of Nelson Mandela Bay will be able to hold their heads up high because of all we have achieved this season. Let’s show our boys the support they deserve, let’s do so in fine style. Up the Kings!
Songezo Nayo Chantal du Pisani
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2013/07/time-for-a-rugby-black-out/