Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa has called on government to build mini stadia for premier leagues clubs as a way of boosting football in the country.
When responding to the 2016/17 budget proposal by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Nkaigwa said government must support soccer outfits like Township Rollers, Gaborone United and Centre Chiefs with proper playing grounds so they can develop into formidable football teams.
“These teams should be given the opportunity to use the mini stadia for their own benefit. This will help bolster and enhance the status of our football. We must support professionalization of football,” he said.
He cited the Gaborone West and Ledumang grounds as ideal cites for construction of mini stadia. When presenting his budget proposal, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi requested P803 911 893 million for the 2016/17 financial year. P45million has been budgeted for refurbishment and expansion of stands at the national stadium. The 25 000 seater stadium will remain closed for 7 months as construction commenced on January 11th.
“The project completion and handover is expected on August 15th. Botswana National Sports Council will continue using the stadium, but activities will be minimized as a safety measure,” said Molefhi. The national stadium was officially opened in 1986 and refurbished in 2008 in preparation for the 2010 South Africa World Cup at a cost of at a cost of P67million. However, the stadium remained closed for five years as the contractor failed to meet the deadline for completion of refurbishment, until the stadium was reopened in 2013. The refurbishment also exceeded the budget by P7.8 million.