The long awaited completion of the refurbished National Stadium has fi nally been fulfi lled. The construction of the stadium has been completed three weeks before its scheduled deadline. The handover ceremony will be conducted on June 16. The ground laying has been done after the contractors, Evergreen Turf, managed to finish the much delayed refurbishment last week. The South African based company has a reputation as the biggest supplier of sod (grass) in the southern hemisphere and they have lived up to expectations by completing the construction ahead of schedule. Evergreen have laid grounds for world famous stadiums such as the 2010 World Cup stadium, Soccer City, as well as stadium in Australia and Newcastle, England. The country’s 22 000 capacity stadium has been inactive for five years.
It had been initially billed to host one of the 2010 World Cup teams but it has been on hold since being closed down in 2008. The stadium was previously scheduled for completion in March this year but there were countless delays which threatened to prolong the country’s wait for the stadium. The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology had addressed the media in January to confirm that the poor drainage systems of the stadium made them seek an additional P7.8 million to fi x the condition of the turf. The initial budget had been P67 million but defi ciencies caused by poor management of the stadium demanded more money from the government. When reached for comment the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dikagiso Mokotedi, told Gazette Sport that indeed the construction of the stadium had been completed. “The ground laying has been done and we are now waiting for the grass to mature and adopt its usual colour and condition. We expect the grass to grow over the next three weeks,” said Mokotedi.
Premier League clubs and other sport codes will surely welcome the news since they have been using other alternatives such as UB Stadium and Molepolole Sports Complex. The alternative stadiums have been useful but football clubs feel that they will make more money off gate takings once the stadium is offi cially opened. “These are good news indeed. We stand a better chance of making more money because a 22 000 seat stadium will generate more income for league clubs. We have had high profi le games which were based in smaller stadiums and we are looking forward to what we have been missing for the past five years,” said Mochudi Centre Chiefs Public Relations Officer, Clifford Mogomotsi.