In Gaborone, the capital and largest city of Botswana with 231,626 inhabitants, a new football pitch is big news. With the support of the FIFA Forward programme, a new football pitch was inaugurated at Lekidi Football Center with members of the government and FIFA representatives present at the gathering.
The new artificial turf will not only allow the Botswana national team - also known as the Zebras - to train in proper conditions, but will serve as a venue for league matches and youth competitions. The new facility is expected to contribute significantly in improving the quality of performance and permitting the Zebras to realise their potential on the pitch.
The new pitch is part of the training centre of the Botswana Football Association (BFA). The centre will also be further developed in order to become a modern, fully equipped hub of preparation for the brightest talents of the country. Just a short distance away from the National Stadium of Botswana, the new facility is ideally situated to serve the strategy set up by the BFA for developing football in the country.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development of Botswana, Thapelo Olopeng, was present at the official opening and praised the new facility and the work of the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
MacLean Letshwiti, the President of BFA, said: "The project crystallises the importance of being a member of the international football body. These are the benefits of being a FIFA member. Our obligation is to set up objectives and strategies for our local football to benefit from the FIFA Forward programme and the organisation will support us during the whole process.
"As a Member Association, we decide what we want to achieve. However, we still have to comply with some important requirements to qualify for the FIFA Forward programme, in our case, our commitment is with football youth development which includes our youth league."
During his speech, Letshwiti also added that the pitch would help the association reach its goals, while two qualified workers will be responsible for the maintenance of the pitch after the completion of the project by the Artificial Grass Africa Company. Newly appointed BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo highlighted that the project would help the association drive its strategy.
David Fani, Development Manager of the FIFA Regional Office in Johannesburg, was also present at the delivery of the pitch. The project was funded by the FIFA Forward programme and managed by FIFA until the final certification of delivery of the pitch.