Renovation starts at Seychelles' national stadium, completion expected by August
The first major renovation of the 12,000-capacity stadium was completed in February 2007. (Seychelles News Agency)
Renovation works are underway at Seychelles' national stadium, Stad Linite, to resurface the tartan track, said a top official of the National Sports Council (NSC).
Details on the work being done by the NSC along with the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA) and the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF), were given in a press conference on Tuesday.
"At the moment, the tartan track at Stad Linite is being removed. We already signed an agreement for the construction of the new fabric, which should arrive in the country by the end of May," said NSC's chief executive, Marc Arissol.
He explained that the new track is expected to be fully resurfaced by August which now calls into question the organisation of the traditional annual National School Athletics Championship. The CEO said this could take place at a later date instead of the usual June 18 date.
The chief operations officer of the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency, Keith Arnephy, said that much of the structural work on the facility has been completed.
"The remaining works now being done are waterproofing the facility, the laying of the track and the laying of the new football pitch," said Arnephy.
Arnephy added that SIA wants to come up with a plan to minimise future damages and ensure the longevity of the stadium.
Built in 1992, a year before Seychelles hosted for the first time the Indian Ocean Island Games, the facility needed repairs for the stands and the concrete base of the stadium, which after many years of inconsistent maintenance, has seen considerable wear and tear.
The first major renovation of the 12,000-capacity stadium was completed in February 2007 with the stadium getting a third-generation artificial turf pitch with a 1-Star field certification by FIFA's development programme "Win in Africa with Africa."
Seychelles has been unable to play any international football matches at Stad Linite for the past few years, due to the stadium not being up to standard and works are already planned to ensure international football can return to the island nation.
One of the main works that are expected to be undertaken is the laying of a new astroturf pitch, which will be done by the Seychelles Football Federation with the aid of FIFA, the world's football governing body.
The works were due to be done a while back, but there were several hurdles that caused a delay, said the SFF's chief executive, Denis Rose.
"For FIFA to invest in a football stadium, it needs a guarantee that football will be prioritised at that venue, which is through a lease agreement. For many years, we tried to get that agreement with local authorities and we finally got it last year, which has now enabled us to finalise the project and get funding from FIFA," said Rose.
The work will start on April 3 and will include the removal of the current pitch and prepare the bedding in the new one. The SFF will also be undertaking works on the lights at Stad Linite, with both works expected to be completed by the middle of July at a cost of $1.1 million, fully funded by FIFA.
Another aspect of the renovation works will be the revamping of the changing rooms and referees' room to meet international standards. These works will be carried out in different phases and will be funded by the Seychelles government, which actually owns the stadium.
At the moment, Seychelles has three stadiums to host football matches - Stad Linite, on the main island of Mahe, one at Amitie on Praslin, the second most populated island, and a third on La Digue, the third most populated island.
Stad Popiler, located in the heart of the capital, Victoria, is the oldest stadium in the country and according to the NSC CEO, it could be relocated as part of future town development plans.