Saturday, October 23, 2021

BFA fingered in snail’s pace Turf pitch progress

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has been accused of poor management over the lack of progress at the FIFA funded second Lekidi Football Centre artificial turf pitch. The project which was awarded to Artificial Grass Africa Company began in September 2017 and was due for completion in January 2018. However, three months later, the project is still far from completion.

Previously funded by FIFA Goal project as a natural turf, the under construction artificial turf pitch was agreed upon due to harsh weather conditions that rendered it unusable. Following severe droughts that hit the country a few years ago, leading to water restrictions, the natural grass in the pitch dried out due to lack of water.

In the aftermath, a decision was taken to resurface the field with artificial turf under the same FIFA Goal project, now renamed FIFA Forward following the arrival of Gianni Infantino as FIFA President.

Sunday Standard has established that Artificial Grass Africa has been delayed by the association in completing the project due to the late arrival of artificial turf that is said to have been imported from China. During the ground breaking ceremony, the company Director, Pierre De Groot had said the project will take his company a maximum of four months to complete including FIFA inspection.

The P4 million FIFA Forward grant was given to affiliates to improve their facilities. At the ceremony the BFA had said its technical team will be fully engaged with grassroots in their mission to turn around Lekidi Football Centre into a centre of excellence. The artificial turf pitch projects will in future be spread across the country if expression by the BFA is anything to go by.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, BFA mouthpiece Tumo Mpatane said the project is back on track and will be completed by the end of May 2018. “Everything is back to normal now, we could have completed the project earlier but due to unforeseen circumstances we were a bit delayed but we are on track now,” Mpatane told Sunday Standard.

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