It is now in the hands of the community to help secure Port Elizabeth as host city for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013.
Today (Wednesday, October 29) is the final day of a massive three-day telethon, broadcast by local community radio station Bay FM (107.9), to conjure up support to make this dream a reality for Nelson Mandela Bay.
Locals can pledge their support for the city’s world cup bid by purchasing tickets for the third annual Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Sevens, which takes place from December 12 to 14.
“We need the community to voice their support through the telethon,” says Laurence Finn, marketing director of the NMB Sevens. He says a lucky telethon participant will stand the chance to win a trip for two to next year’s World Cup Sevens in Dubai.
According to Finn, PE has an excellent chance of being selected as host. He says the organisers of the NMB Sevens are already able to tick most of the important boxes on their world cup application.
“We have an established event, which is an important consideration. The fact that we are a city and not a town is another plus, as well as the fact that we will soon have a Fifa approved stadium.”
Finn says if they can get 30 000 people to attend the NMB Sevens without backing from the International Rugby Board (IRB), it will send a very strong message to the governing body. “Imagine what we will be able to achieve with their backing.”
“Many of the major cities will apply to SA Rugby for hosting rights. We know George is putting in a bid and Durban and Cape Town will probably follow suit.”
Executive mayor, Nondumiso Maphazi, has given a written pledge to financially back the city’s bid. “It is up to us, the residents and ratepayers of Nelson Mandela Bay, to stand together and prove that we will attend and support this event.”
The new stadium in North End – with a capacity of 50 000 – will be the perfect venue, says Finn.
Odwa Mtati, CEO of the PE Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Percci), says these types of events will support the sustainability of the new stadium. “It also showcases the ability of the country and Nelson Mandela Bay to stage and host major events.
For more info, visit www.nmbs.co.za, www.bayfm.co.za or phone Finn on 084 507 3175.
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