The Caledonian Stadium will be restored to its glory days in a R120 million redevelopment that will bring it to Premier Soccer League (PSL) standards.
Executive Mayor Randall Williams, joined by Bafana Bafana legend Mark Fish, turned the sod to mark the commencement of construction to rebuild the stadium over the next 36 months.
The City made a decision to rebuild the stadium, built in 1903 for the Arcadia Shepherds football club, as part of restoring heritage and bringing development to the community.
South African football icons, Thomas Hlongwane, Noel Cousins, Stan Lapot, Bongani Khumalo, Deshi Bhaktawer, Thomas Madigage, Edward Motale, Mark Evans, Mark Anderson, and Fish, are some of the greats who graced the Caledonian pitch.
Former Banyana Banyana captain Portia Modise scored her first goal for the country at the Caledonian.
The site where the stadium is located used to be administered by the Caledonian Society from the late 1800s, but in 1916 it sold the land to the then Pretoria municipality on condition that it be reserved for football.
Williams said: “In 36 months we will see a brand new football stadium in this place.
“This project speaks to the City’s strategic pillar of realising a city that cares for its residents and promotes inclusivity, and our five-year action plan of creating spaces and housing opportunities that bring people together.”
He said the stadium formed part of the City’s sports infrastructure investment plan.
He said the stadium would be an addition to the Tshwane stadiums that hold PSL matches – and hopefully Arcadia Shepherds in the top flight as well.
He said this club, which opposed the apartheid regime and allowed black soccer players to participate in the professional league, would also use the 15 000-seater stadium.
Fish said being present for the official sod-turning event was an emotional and special moment for him.
He said he would like to see more youngsters from the club and stadium go on to become professional soccer players.
Part of the work would include a new soccer museum and a multipurpose hall with a sport retail shop and renovating the existing clubhouse into a new bar.
In addition, there would be a new five-a-side soccer facility and skate park.
Williams added: “It is of the utmost importance that we as the City ensure that we invest in our sporting facilities.
“These are key points of recreation that provide significant benefits to our communities and provide opportunities for young people to hone and develop their sporting skills.”
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