Botswana: Sport Facility Leaves Many Salivating

Bobonong — Construction of Bobonong sports facility, which is nearing completion, is already having some intended patrons salivating at the sight of a concrete walled facility.

The P5 million facility looks set to breed excitement to those who had been starved of entertainment and recreation in Bobonong.

The sports facility would be home to a football pitch with artificial turf, athletics track with compacted soil, volleyball court, netball court, ablutions, changing rooms, kiosks and scaffolding stands with 200 people sitting capacity.

It was until November 29, 2019 that the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare, conducted a groundbreaking exercise at the then show ground.

Until then, the people of Bobonong and to a larger extent, a wider Bobirwa population had never known a sports facility in their area.

Construction of the facility was a collaboration of MYSC and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) .

Now that the facility was nearing its completion after a two months halt to construction owing to a national lockdown, expectations for the use of the facility, being constructed by Heidi Dea Holdings had heightened.

Amongst those already eyeing use of the concrete walled facility was coordinator of Bobirwa Festive Punch, Kabo Kgathi who described the venue as comparatively secure.

In an interview, Kgathi said their event harbored intentions of using the facility if the guidelines provided for usage are acceptable to them.

"We have interest in using the facility going forward," said Kgathi who found the sports facility to be possessing ample space for a growing number of revelers and their vehicles.

Previously, their event, which started in December 2016, was held at the same venue twice whilst it was still a fenced show ground before moving their event to a private farm.

Another person excited by the facility is Sarah Moatshe, who sells airtime, fruits and sweets amongst other things in front of Extra Save store, which is separated from the sports facility by a tarred road.

In her daily endeavors, she sits with her back against Extra Save fence, facing right into the facility's main entrance.

"My expectation is to benefit from the opening of the sports facility by way of revelers and patrons popping by for airtime and other items," Moatshe said with the hope that the facility will attract multitudes.

However, with the nationwide lockdown that effected April 2 this year, the facility will not be completed in July as was initially scheduled.

Managing Director of the Heidi Dea Holdings, Rorisang Sakuze told BOPA in an interview that the company applied for extension of time as a result of the lockdown that effected April 2.

While awaiting determination from client ministry, Sakuze said that they were hard at work pushing with all their might for the completion of the project in about three months despite having had to source new laborers after some left without a trace during the lockdown.

She also noted that unavailability of cement during the first weeks of June hampered their push for completion of a project that was expected to be handed over to client beginning of July.

Sakuze expressed her happiness with the progress and noted that they divided the team into groups to squeeze from them productivity and effectiveness.

The client ministry representative, principal programmes officer, Mbiganyi Magina, said construction work was 14 weeks behind schedule, eight of which were due to lockdown while the rest were due to weather.

Magina said rain came in at a critical time and put breaks to construction work at the facility and observed that there were some heat waves, which were detrimental to human lives and thereby pulling the works into a sudden screech.

Due to the above factors, the contractor will hear the outcome of the adjudication committee in a few days during a site visit meeting and like the contractor, the programmes officer voiced contentment at the progress of the sports facility.

The construction, which is carried out in phases would see the completion of current works pave way for construction of volleyball, netball courts as well as artificial turfed football pitch inter alia.

Magina revealed that his ministry had over P6 million budgeted for the works, but would benchmark on the available facilities on how best to execute their construction works.

Also, Magina said funds permitting, ablutions and kiosks may be increased to 10 from the initial five to cater for the expected maximum capacity.

"Ideally, we would love to see the company that would construct pitches and courts come on site when the current vacates the site," said Magina.

Source : BOPA

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