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Meet the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium’s Mpho Mokonyama

By Jesica Slabbert - Oct 4, 2018
Meet the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium’s Mpho Mokonyama

Since its construction for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has grown into one of the important landmarks in the Bay – one of a few that local residents and visitors find pride in.

Among the army of workers and executives responsible for keeping this engineering marvel going post-World Cup is Mpho Mokonyama, an experienced sports marketing specialist.

He was appointed to the role of full-time Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Manager in May this year.

Mokonyama holds 19 years in commercial sports management experience traversing sports development, event management, sponsorship recruitment and business development.

“I started my career after I realised that I was not going to be the next international cricketer in my twenties. I then decided that I could be the next ‘Jerry McGuire’, which is working in sports marketing,” he tells Business Link magazine.

As a result he has attained qualifications in Sports Management, Business Communications, Financial Management and Sports Law.

Mokonyama’s career track record includes various positions in sport events management and securing crucial sponsorship deals for some of the country’s leading sport franchises, including rugby franchise the Blue Bulls and popular premiership soccer club, Kaizer Chiefs.

He tells Business Link magazine that he is responsible for designing, implementing and evaluating a commercial plan and commercial partnerships to turn the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium around.

“My role as the stadium manager entails managing the stadium, not running it. I have 41 amazing individuals that run the stadium. It’s my job to give them direction as a leader in line with the mandate that was given to the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) by the City,” Mokonyama explains.

View the interview below:

Keeping the lights on at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

When the curtains closed on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, there were fears that the many stadiums built for the soccer showcase – including the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, would become ‘white elephants’ and financial burdens on ratepayers.

Mokonyama says since assuming office among his priorities is ensuring that the stadium, as a business, increases its own revenue to ensure that it does not rely on the City. This, he adds, has been by ensuring that the stadium as the City’s largest sport and recreational asset, is used to its fullest potential.

“It costs us a lot of money to maintain this facility, it’s the biggest asset that the municipality holds, but we have an open door policy where we say that the public must come and meet with us and see how we can partner with us to make sure that we utilise this facility to its maximum potential,” describes Mokonyama.

He also believes that the youth should become more involved in the sports and sports management industry, as it is one of the few businesses in the world that are not influenced by the economy.

“When we say ‘sports industry’, you need to think about what it is and what this business entails. You need to empower yourself with knowledge, it’s a broad industry and one of the most stable globally, as the economy doesn’t seem to affect the business of sports in general,” Mokonyama explains.

“I encourage the youth to get into sports marketing because there are a lot of opportunities, and I know for a fact that this is a business that will not be affected by the economy.”

While he demonstrates a very efficient and productive work ethic as well as a leadership style that focuses on rules while also listening to new and innovative ideas of his staff, Mokonyama is not all business. To keep his life balanced, Mokonyama makes sure to stay active and as he says ‘Be the younger version of me’.

“I’m a very outgoing person and I always try to challenge myself. I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie, I love to cycle, to reiki, I run and I’m trying to learn how to be a good swimmer.”

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