Saturday 11 December proved another landmark date for FIFA’s '20 Centres for 2010' campaign, with the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Lesotho Football for Hope Centre taking place at the Old Europa Police Training Grounds in Lesotho.
The Lesotho Football for Hope Centre forms part of the '20 Centres for 2010' campaign, which promises to build 20 Football for Hope centres for education, public health and football in disadvantaged African communities. The social initiative is the official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, which aimed to leave a legacy on the African continent.
The brief ceremony was blessed with gentle, cool rain in what might have been a symbolic twist on an otherwise clear day. Construction will begin early January with completion scheduled for end of April 2011. In attendance were Kick4Life staff and volunteers, local orphans and vulnerable children - all of whom will benefit from the centre - and representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation, the Lesotho Police Commission, and from the private sector.
Lesotho will serve as a host nation for one of the 20 centres to be built across Africa. As the future headquarters of Kick4Life - a local partner in the project - the centre will provide a broad range of programming for all Basotho youth. Facilities will include HIV testing and counselling, a resource library, a computer and media room, a training room and even a top FIFA grade artificial turf football pitch.
To celebrate the beginning of the construction, Kick4Life also held the Maseru Street League in addition to the Groundbreaking Ceremony. The Maseru Street League is a nine-team football tournament comprising orphans and vulnerable children from the city. Teams play seven-a-side matches, participate in K4L educational activities, and have the opportunity to use voluntary counselling and testing services provided on site.
“The Lesotho Football for Hope Centre is a wonderful initiative for our country because it will be sustainable for many years to come; not just five or six years, but for a lifetime,” said Centre Manager Refiloe Maphallela.
“During this time, it will be a source of quality programmes for the youth of Lesotho. At the centre, youth will not only find the commitment, consistency and care that will help fight the spread of HIV, but they’ll also have numerous ways to get involved in a safe, fun, and educational environment."