Seychelles gearing up for CAF’s African Beach Soccer Championship 2015 – construction of beach soccer stadium gets underway
Young soccer fans playing beach soccer in the Seychelles islands in training organised by the SFF. Seychelles launched its first beach football league last year and to date several teams are actively trying to develop the sport. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is on its way to having a state of the art beach soccer stadium in time to be able to host its first Confederation of African Football's (CAF) African Beach Soccer Championship in April 2015, now that construction work on a new stadium is expected to start next week.
The beach soccer stadium is being built on a piece of land provided by the archipelago’s government next to the Astro Turf pitch at Roche Caiman, a few minutes’ drive from the Seychelles capital Victoria on the main island of Mahé.
Vijay Construction Company has been awarded the contract to build the facility which is expected to cost around $ 1.1 to $ 1.5 million.
The Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) is getting the financial assistance of FIFA (the world's football governing body) and CAF to implement the project.
Competitive beach soccer, a sport which started in Brazil, is not very popular on the African continent compared to South America and Europe.
It was only last year that Seychelles launched its first beach football league and to date several teams are actively trying to develop the sport.
As the foundation stone was laid Thursday, the Seychelles Football Federation’s Chairman (SFF) Elvis Chetty said this is testimony to the efforts being undertaken to further develop the sport in Indian Ocean island nation.
“We started this a year ago when we decided to begin investment into beach soccer. Beach Soccer is a new programme on our Calendar. The construction of the new arena will seal our commitment to its continued development,” said Chetty in a news report aired on the national television, Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC).
|The foundation stone for the new beach soccer stadium was laid on Thursday by the Seychelles President James Michel also the Patron of the archipelago’s football Federation together with the Federation’s Chairman Elvis Chetty (Seychelles Nation) Photo license: CC-BY-NC|
Now that the stadium is being built, which will allow Seychelles to organize CAF’s African Beach Soccer Championship set for April 14-19, 2015, the next step is to ensure that the island nation has a strong team that will be able to compete in the championship.
In an interview with SNA in May after the CAF confirmed the date for the 2015 African beach soccer championship, SFF’s Elvis Chetty says the federation plans to have a team that will be given the necessary training so that Seychelles can be competitive at the championship.
“We have already started to identify some people who will oversee the team, we are sourcing out to see where we can get some assistance through coaching from overseas (…). I am not talking about getting a coach from abroad, instead I am talking about places where we can get assistance in terms of training camps to send our coaches to learn more about the sport,” said Chetty.
According to an article published in daily newspaper, Seychelles Nation on Friday the archipelago's Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports, Vincent Meriton has said that his ministry is finding ways to raise the necessary funds needed to organize the international competition next year.
Meriton noted that his ministry is working in close collaboration with the SFF and the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment in that venture.
The sports minister has also described the development of beach football in Seychelles as a means to “help nurture young talents and to also give more youths the opportunity to practice a new sport.”
Once completed the Seychelles beach soccer stadium will be able to accommodate between two thousand to three thousand people and it is expected to be used not only for beach soccer matches but for other sporting events.
CAF announced that Seychelles had been successful in its bid to organize the African Beach Soccer Championship in 2015 following a meeting of its executive committee late in 2013. Seychelles had support from one if its football veterans and former SFF chairman, Suketu Patel, who is also the 1st Vice President of CAF.
CAF organises a beach soccer competition every two years to get two African teams to qualify for the bi-annual FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
The African Beach Soccer Championship to be held in the Seychelles next year, which is expected to see the participation of eight countries, will see the winning team declared African beach soccer champion on top of qualifying along with the runner-up to represent the African continent at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.