Saturday, January 23, 2021

National and Francistown Stadiums cause concern

Despite concerted efforts by the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture to continuously check on the progress of the stadiums currently under construction and refurbishments, it seems the work is going at a snail’s pace at two of the stadiums that were supposed to have been completed by this time.

It appears as if only Lobatse Stadium is progressing a bit faster compared to Frasncistown and the National Stadium in Gaborone.

Lobatse Stadium is 96 percent complete while Gaborone and Francistown are 95 and 75 percent complete, respectively.

All the stadiums were intended to attract teams taking part at this year’s World Cup in neighbouring South Africa but it now seems everything is off target as they are still incomplete and no country has shown an interest to play any friendly games in Botswana.

Lobatse Stadium is expected to be complete before the end of next month and the official opening will be in July.

Information reaching Sunday Standard is that Francistown Stadium is expected to be complete by December but it is not clear when the National Stadium will be ready.

The problem with the National Stadium is said to be the pitch, which is reported to be not flat. Even the turf is reported to be not laid out properly. “Although it might be incomplete, what we have seen so far from the pitch leaves a lot to be desired. Unless something is done, this pitch is not properly laid and looks bumpy,” said the technical officer of the Botswana Athletics Association, Bobby Gaseitsiwe.

Efforts to solicit comments from relevant authorities of the national Stadium were futile at time of going to press.

On the other hand, Minister Kgathi expressed happiness at the progress of Lobatse Stadium. He said the stadium would be useful to the development of sports in the country because it has integrated sports facilities. Apart from the stadium, there are four pitches which will also be laid with the turf. Two are for football while the others are for cricket and rugby.

Kgathi also implored the Lobatse Town Council (LTC) to name the stadium within the context of sports. He also called on the LTC not to abandon the old council stadium because of the new one. He said the stadium can be used for a variety of sports, like youth development. He expressed concern that already there are some business communities who are eyeing the land on which the old stadium sits and who are making numerous enquiries from LTC.

Kgathi said sports development should not be compromised at all.
The National Stadium is under refurbishment while Lobatse and Francistown are being newly constructed.

The three stadiums cost the government a whopping P455 million.

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