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Parliament urges Setsoto upgrade for ‘national dignity’  

Business

Staff Reporters

The National Assembly has implored the government to urgently finalise the on-going rehabilitation of the Setsoto Stadium for the sake of national dignity.

The national team, Likuena, has suffered the ignominy of hosting its home matches in the neighbouring South Africa due to lack of FIFA-accredited football facilities since Setsoto’s ban in 2021.

The 20,000-seater stadium, which was the country’s only accredited facility to host official international matches, was banned by FIFA due to its deplorable state.

Among others, the stadium was condemned for its poor pitch, changing rooms and sanitation facilities.

In December 2023, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Arts and Culture said the rehabilitation works at the stadium had begun, and were expected to be completed in March 2024.

The ministry had estimated that the entire works would cost M4.9 million. 

Edel Grass, a Netherlands company involved in artificial grass solutions for sports and landscaping purposes, was awarded the job to renovate the stadium by the ministry.

But the work has since stalled and is likely to miss the March 2024 completion, prompting the parliamentary portfolio committee on the economic and development cluster to intervene. 

“The Committee is concerned with the status of Setsoto, the main football stadium in the country; it has noticed and observed that Setsoto has been banned from hosting international matches because it does not meet international standards set by FIFA; the fact which has brought shame to the  country,” said the Portfolio Committee on Natural Resource, Tourism and Land Cluster.

“Therefore, the Committee recommends that the Government through the Ministry of Tourism, Sports, Arts and Culture expedite the revamping of the stadium; the Minister of Finance should consider re-allocating M20 000 00000 for the rehabilitation of the of the stadium to restore the dignity of the Kingdom regionally and internationally,” the committee said in its report on the 2024/25 budget and estimates of revenue and expenditure.

The ministry has an estimated budget allocation of M140.7 million, according to the 2024/25 budget speech.

“The government recognises the importance of fostering a robust sports ecosystem. Five sporting codes will be developed alongside the tourism initiatives. These include codes in soccer, athletics, taekwondo, boxing, and others. This policy underscores the government’s commitment to promote leisure and recreation while harnessing the socio-economic potential of sports development,” said Finance and Development Planning Minister Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane in the budget speech.

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