Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Cape Town City have returned to their spiritual home at Hartleyvale Stadium‚ now using the venue as a training facility but they are planning to build a 10‚000-seater stadium.

The club have been negotiating to use the municipal-owned facility with the Cape Town city council for more than a year and have signed a five-year lease.

Owner John Comitis and his ambitious club are looking for a 20-year deal in order to build their own stadium.

Hartleyvale was the Mecca of Cape Town football in the 1970s and ’80s when the previous City franchise played there. But over the last decades the venue has fallen into disrepair with the grandstand partially removed and the rest condemned. The remaining part of the main grandstand will soon be bulldozed‚ with the rest of the venue surrounded by grass banks.

The pitch has been significantly improved‚ as City coach Benni McCarthy enthused: "You get that love back for football again because the pitch is unbelievable‚" he said.

"When I was growing up this used to be a holy ground.

"I used to come and watch old Hellenic play here when I was kid‚ when they played Chiefs and Pirates.

"Now to be able to be here on a regular basis is amazing and it is rewarding for the players that the club can provide them with such facilities where we can prepare properly for each game.

"We really don’t have any excuses because the training pitch is as good as the surface at the Cape Town Stadium."

Plans for the new soccer-specific stadium include a retail area with several stores.

If that happens‚ City’s training facilities will be moved across the road where there is an existing cricket club‚ which is also owned by the council.

Amateur club FC Kapstadt previously used the Hartleyvale pitch for their matches and have accused City of bullying them out of the venue.

But the Premier Soccer League club say that FC Kapstadt have their own lease on another ground in the precinct and are threatening legal action for alleged slander.