Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela has announced the government resolved to rename Goble Park Stadium after Mike Mokoena.
The late Free State Stars boss succumbed to cancer at a Johannesburg hospital last week and was laid to rest on Friday.
He was accorded a special provincial official funeral by South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa as a way of honouring the man who had been involved in football for 43 years.
“We have resolved as the executive of the Free State provincial government to change the name of Goble Park Stadium to the Mike Mokoena Stadium,” said Ntombela at Mokoena’s funeral.
Ntombela said the government aims to speed up the process so that everything is finalised this time next year.
“So next year, when you come here and you make your way to Goble Park, you will be saying, ‘we are going to the Mike Mokoena Stadium’.
“Of course, the necessary processes will be followed. Look, I swear, this one is going to happen,” she said.
Ntombela further revealed they have also done all the necessary research behind the name Goble Park and found that it means nothing to anybody, and therefore Mokoena’s name will take over the legacy.
“We have also checked who Goble was, we are not fighting anyone – it’s just a name from overseas and it means nothing to anybody. So, indeed we were just waiting for Bra Mike to take over. That Goble will be Mike Mokoena Stadium,” concluded Ntombela.
Mokoena relocated Stars from Qwaqwa to Bethlehem soon after returning to the PSL in the early 2000s, and this has been their home ground for decades with Charles Mopeli Stadium used as their alternative ground until around 2013.
Mokoena formed the club now known as Free State Stars in 1977 but at the time, it was known as Makwane Computer Stars.
It was under Mokoena’s leadership that the club gained promotion to the National Premier Soccer League in 1986.
Stars won two major trophies in the professional ranks – the 1994 Coca Cola Cup and the Nedbank Cup in 2018.
The Bethlehem-based side got relegated in 2019 after finishing 16th at the end of the 2018/19 season.