By Teboho Molapo
MASERU — The refurbished Setsoto Stadium is set to be re-opened on May 1, the Lesotho Times can reveal.
Contractors at the stadium said the renovation work was on schedule.
Setsoto — Lesotho’s only stadium — was scheduled to be re-opened next month after two years of renovations.
But Roger Pietrucci, head of the Setsoto project, said they were now planning to open the stadium on May Day.
Although it appears there is still much work to be done — including the completion of the southern pavilion and parking lot — Pietrucci insisted the facelift would be completed by the end of April.
“On the 30th of April everything will be done. We will be done,” he said.
Setsoto has been closed since early 2008 when a delegation from the international football body Fifa declared the stadium unfit to host international football matches.
The first phase of the renovations, undertaken by Thescons Construction Company, began in June 2008 with the upgrading of Setsoto’s two existing pavilions as well as adding dressing rooms, medical rooms, a press gallery and toilets.
The second phase began last August with Lesotho Steel Products constructing from scratch new stands on the northern and southern sides of the stadium.
The company has added a central operation centre and a parking lot inside the stadium.
All the renovations have gobbled up M150 million.
“It’s going well,” Pietrucci said.
“Before we started there were only embankments on the north and south sides of the stadium.We have added two new pavilions with toilets, shops and numerous ablution facilities.
“We have also upgraded the storm water system, the electricity supply, the water supply and the general landscape of the stadium, including parking space which was not there before.”
The capacity of the stadium has been reduced from an estimated 35 000 seats to a 13 900-seat stadium.
Setsoto’s four pavilions have not been joined and Pietrucci said the stadium’s corners will be reserved for hospitality tents which will be hired by companies.
“It’s an international standard stadium,” Pietrucci said.
“There are first aid rooms in each pavilion and areas for paraplegic supporters.
“Everything will be controlled from a central room which is something that has not been in Lesotho before.”
Because of Setsoto’s unavailability, Lesotho has not hosted an official international football match for three years.
The national team’s last official match at home was a 0-0 draw against Uganda on June 16 2007.