Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

29 September 2009

Botswana: Moruleng Stadium Opens for Business

Moruleng — The new Moruleng Stadium, near Sun City, which might serve as a training venue for the 2010 World Cup was officially opened on Saturday.

The ultra-modern facility might serve as a home base for some of the countries that play their World Cup matches in Rustenburg. The stadium is situated less than 10km from Sun City.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nyalala Pilane, (Kgosi) chief of the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela, said the 20,000-seater stadium was constructed at a cost of R174 million. It forms part of a comprehensive economic development programme taking place in Moruleng with financing from the Bakgatla community.

Pilane said the stadium will be one of the best training venues available to countries participating in the World Cup. During the recent Confederations Cup, it was used as a training ground by the New Zealand soccer team who spoke very highly of the quality of the pitch and the facilities.

"We also received very positive feedback from FIFA, as well as the Local Organising Committee for the 2010 Soccer World Cup," said Pilane.

He said the community has long term plans to utilise the stadium for sports and cultural events after the World Cup. "It will definitely not become a white elephant. One of our objectives is to establish an academy to nurture young football talent in the community. I am convinced that this stadium will in the near future become a base for a team playing in the professional leagues," said Pilane.

The first match in the newly opened stadium was played in the afternoon between Botswana's top professional side, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Platinum Stars of South Africa.

The Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela is a community of about 350,000 people that reside predominantly in the Moruleng area of the North West Province of South Africa. It is involved in a number of joint ventures with the private sector in the areas of mining, tourism and the leisure industry. The revenue generated is invested in community development projects.

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