Fifa Goal Project approved

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MASERU — The world football governing body last week approved the establishment of a Fifa Goal Project in Maputsoe.

The facility will be a major boost for the Leribe district which has three teams in the Vodacom Premier League.

The Lesotho Football Association’s (Lefa) communications manager, Mikia Kalati, told the Lesotho Times on Monday that Fifa had given the go-ahead for the project.

“Last week we received confirmation from Fifa regarding the new project,” Kalati said.

He however revealed that specific details of funding and when construction would start will come later.

“It’s still at the start. At this point I can’t say anything about the timelines, save to say the project will definitely go on,” Kalati said.

“It’s a very positive development. It shows that we are slowly getting there in terms of facilities.”

Funds for the project will mostly come from the Fifa Goal Project grant with the Lesotho government also pitching in.

The first Fifa Goal Project was the building of the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena in 2002.

In September 2004, the Fifa Goal Bureau approved an expansion of the facility to include purpose-built regional offices, a regional training centre and dressing rooms along the existing training pitches.

On that occasion US$403 535 (about M3.2 million) of the budget came from Fifa and the remaining US$100 000 came from the government of Lesotho. Bambatha was followed by a smaller technical centre in Mohale’s Hoek.

The Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena now serves as Lefa’s headquarters and is also used for the training of national soccer sides ahead of international matches.

The facility has also been used to host local league and cup games.

“When you look at Bambatha and the role it has played, it has been vital. In the past our national teams had to go to hotels to camp but now they stay at Bambatha. It has a lot of facilities. Likuena is able to train here,” Kalati said.

“The facility in Mohale’s Hoek has not been opened for a long time but we hope that it will be a boost to the area and provide facilities for many different levels,” he said.

The Goal Project is an initiative of Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, which started in 1999 to improve infrastructure in developing countries, mainly in Africa and Asia.

To date it has provided support for over 500 development projects across the world, with a total of US$200 million having been invested in them.

Every year member associations who demonstrate the need for said infrastructure are handed a project.

“The centre in Maputsoe will play an important role. It depends on the facilities that it will have. Maybe for example it could have a high performance centre.

“That would be a boost because at the moment our teams have to go to Pretoria for the high performance centre but now they will be able to go Maputsoe,” Kalati said.

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