MASERU — Setsoto Stadium will only be re-opened after the World Cup because contractors are yet to finish renovations that have gobbled up M150 million.
The stadium — to be Lesotho’s only football venue that meets international standards — was expected to re-open on May 1.
It was closed for renovations in April 2008 after the international football body Fifa said it was not suitable to host international matches.
Sports Minister ‘Mathabiso Lepono on Thursday toured the stadium to assess the progress.
“The stadium was expected to be completed in April but we believe it will be completed at least by the end of this month,” she told reporters at the stadium.
Lepono said the government would give the contractors two more weeks to finish up their work at Setsoto.
“We cannot use this stadium until contractors officially hand it over to the government,” she said.
“We’ve also got to give them a two-week allowance to make sure everything is in order.”
The stadium was used last month for Lesotho’s Under-17 and Under-20 CAF Youth Championship qualifiers against Mozambique although the refurbishments were still in progress.
Lepono said Setsoto was likely to be officially re-opened after the World Cup in South Africa, starting on June 11 up to July 11.
“The stadium cannot be officially opened next month because of the World Cup excitement among almost all the people of the world,” she said.
“It might be re-opened after the World Cup.”
The minister however said she was satisfied with the newly refurbished stadium.
“This is a beautiful stadium yet it is not completed,” she said.
“I am very happy with the renovations because the old stadium’s dressing rooms were not up to date and had a bad smell.”
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 and medical rooms.
A press gallery, royal banquet hall, six offices, five private boxes, a lift and toilets were also added.
The second phase began last August with Lesotho Steel Products constructing from scratch new pavilions on the northern and southern sides of the stadium.
A public address system, a digital scoreboard as well as electronic gates are also part of the second phase.
The company has also added a central operating centre and a parking lot inside the stadium.