Thursday, February 29, 2024
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M4,9 million for Setsoto upgrade

Business

Seabata Mahao

Setsoto Stadium is finally getting the long-awaited upgrade in line with international football standards after it was condemned by both FIFA and CAF due to its deplorable state.

The M4, 9 million renovations commenced with the removal of the old-worn-out artificial turf last week, and the work is expected to be completed by March 2024.

The 20,000-seater multi-purpose national stadium was in 2022 barred from hosting any international sporting event, forcing the national team, Likuena, and domestic football clubs to play their home games in neighbouring South Africa.

The country’s sole international football facility, Setsoto was condemned for its poor pitch, changing rooms, and sanitation facilities.

According to the Department of Sports in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports, Arts and Culture, the stadium will be ready for use in March 2024.

And with Likuena’s next World Cup qualifier tie coming up around June 2024, there is a tantalising prospect for Likuena supporters to finally catch a glimpse of their beloved team playing at home starting with that match, after a period of over a year playing outside the country.

The renovations include the re-installation of the new artificial turf in the pitch, while the second phase will be the renovation of the dressing rooms and other major issues surrounding the stadium, according to the Ministry of Tourism, Sports, Arts, and Culture spokesperson, ‘Mamolise Falatsa.

Falatsa said the work to renovate the Stadium was awarded to Edel Grass, a Netherlands company operating, innovative, and leading company, creating artificial grass solutions for sports and landscaping purposes beyond borders.

“The overall cost of the project is M4, 9 million and it is estimated to be complete by the end of March 2024,” Falatsa stated.

The stadium’s ban has negatively affected local football, with the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) bearing perhaps the harshest brunt.

Earlier this month LeFA revealed that it spent over M2,4 million for participation of Likuena in the first two matches of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, as they had to host their home matches in South Africa.

The current Vodacom Premier League (VPL) champions, Bantu FC, were not enrolled in the CAF Champions League due to a lack of locally available football facilities that are eligible to host CAF official matches.

This means Lesotho has suffered the ignominy of not having a club representing it in the current instalment of the CAF Champions League due to the unavailability of Setsoto Stadium.

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