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Sangweni Overwhelmed By 47 Million Stadium Named After Him

  • May 19, 2024
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Sangweni Overwhelmed By 47 Million Stadium Named After Him

Siyabonga Sangweni could barely contain his excitement when a stadium in his hometown of Dondotha, KwaZulu-Natal, was named after him.

On Saturday, Sangweni was honored with the official opening of the Siyabonga Sangweni Sports Complex in the Imfolozi local municipality. The multi-sport facility, a R47 million project, was handed over to the community by KZN MEC for Sports Ntuthuko Mahlaba.

The venue was packed with people from surrounding areas who came to celebrate the new facility. Sangweni even called up his former teammates from Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows to christen the pitch.

An exhibition match between Pirates and Chiefs was played, though unfortunately, Sangweni’s team lost in a lengthy 13-12 penalty shootout, where some players took their kicks twice during the sudden death stage.

“This area is far from civilisation, and this is the first time it has had such a facility,” Sangweni said, his face beaming with excitement. “Thanks to my football career, people here will now have this amazing place to play. You all remember what this venue was like during my off-season tournaments, and now things are completely different. I’m so grateful to my municipality.”

According to Sangweni, construction on the complex began in 2019 but was delayed due to the global financial and emotional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the first time the King Cetshwayo District has had such a facility,” he added. “I’m incredibly happy, not just for myself, but for my entire community. If Tata Nelson Mandela hadn’t fought for our liberation, none of this would have been possible. We are who we are because of freedom.”

A Storied Career

Sangweni, a renowned defender known for his ability to shut down attackers (like he did against Collins Mbesuma in the exhibition game), showcased his class and leadership on Saturday.

He displayed a talent for success early in his career. Not many defenders, especially rookies in the PSL, can score a goal in their debut. But Sangweni did just that for Golden Arrows against Dynamos.

The 42-year-old was part of the dominant Arrows team that crushed Cape Town 6-0 in the 2009/10 MTN8 final. He even set up the first goal for Njabulo Manqana in the ninth minute with what appeared to be a long left-footed clearance from the back.

Sangweni’s success continued when he moved to Orlando Pirates in the 2011/12 season. He won a treble in his first season and Pirates second on the bounce. He even scored against his former club Arrows in a 4-2 win at the Moses Mabhida Stadium during the last league game of his debut season with Pirates.

He also scored in the Telkom Knockout semi-final against Arrows at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, where Pirates won 3-1.

The “steely defender” capped off his Pirates career with a Nedbank Cup win in the 2013/14 season, bringing his total to four trophies with the Soweto giants. They defeated Bidvest Wits 3-1 at the Durban venue before a knee injury forced his retirement in 2016, a decision made upon the advice of the club’s doctors. Notably, Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza himself announced Sangweni’s retirement at a press conference, a rare honor for departing players.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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