The Coca Cola Cup between rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs was be the last game played at the University of Botswana ground this season.
Had it not been for the Gaborone United CAF clash with Zimbabwe’s Dynamos and the Coke game, the stadium would have been closed beginning of May. While the closure of the stadium is expected to get mixed reactions the Botswana National Sports Council feel the arrangement is for the better.
The UB stadium was opened pre-maturely and according to BNSC Executive Secretary, Kitso Kemoeng, the sports council has been managing the facility and maintaining it. The stadium will thus be closed after the Coke final until June for the maintenance of the grass.
In another burning issue BNSC has reportedly entered into negotiations with the UB stadium administrators to reduce the fee they have been charging the teams at the stadium.
Kemoeng also told Voice Sport that the University of Botswana did not consult them when they recently increased the levy paid by teams per game from P5 000 to P10 000. He said they have since engaged the university on the issue and that dialogue has been opened.
With the SSKB stadium now open and having been re-grassed with probably the best grass ever it remains to be seen if the BDF will avail it to the public as expected. When Voice Sport asked the BNSC boss whether the stadium would be open to civilian teams he explained that they have not given the issue much thought as they never imagined it would be an issue or difficult for anybody to use the stadium. He however, said if there could be any such issue as the mother body they would intervene. Two games have been played at the Sir Seretse Khama stadium already.
The re-grassing according to Kemoeng was done as a directive from government. This he said was done for just in case Botswana was fortunate enough to attract any of the World Cup countries for pre-competition training sessions in the country.
“In recognition of the shortage of playing pitches in the country especially with the continued unavailability of the National Stadium and the delayed completion of the other related projects, we have taken position to avail the Sir Seretse Khama stadium for events that it could handle. The stadium is given under a clear understanding that it would also be under controlled use, to allow it to settle to the levels desired. The pitch will remain under our maintenance for the period up to mid August, 2010. The administrative management of the SSKB stadium will continue to be under the BDF. We will soon be contacting government to indicate the end of our mandate in respect of the two stadiums, with the view of pulling out at the end of the respective maintenance periods,” Kemoeng said at the reopening of the SSKB.
While only P1.6 million was availed for both the UB and SSKB, BNSC according to Kemoeng, has already spent around P3 million. A more accurate figure will be revealed once it has completely gone to bed.
Kemoeng also revealed that with almost all the major projects running behind schedule it cannot be said when exactly the other stadia would be completed save to just remain confident that by 2011 they would be completed.
“As we thank the government for these developments, we appeal for more. Botswana needs at least one grand stadium, if we entertain hopes of ever hosting a major event like the Africa Cup of Nations and All Africa games. More than anything else Botswana needs more playing surfaces of quality. However, all these cannot be provided by government alone We appeal to the private sector to come into the picture in this respect.” Kemoeng said