Seychelles is building beach soccer stadium for CAF’s African Beach Soccer Championship 2015
(Seychelles News Agency) - Plans to build a beach soccer stadium in the Seychelles are being drawn up as the island nation steps up preparations to host its first Confederation of African Football's (CAF) African Beach Soccer Championship in April 2015, the chairman of the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF), Elvis Chetty, told SNA today.
The dates set for the competition, April 14-19, 2015, were confirmed last week during a meeting of CAF's executive committee under the chairmanship of CAF President, Issa Hayatou.
SFF's decision to build a beach soccer stadium for the championship is in spite of the fact that the Indian Ocean islands are filled with world-known beautiful white sandy beaches, such as Anse Lazio voted 7th best of the world's best beaches by Tripadvisor and Anse Source d'Argent, ranked 4th best by CNN.com
“Yes Seychelles is surrounded by beaches but CAF and FIFA also have set standards and rules by which we have to abide (…), at the same time we need to think about our investment, and we believe it is a more tangible investment to build a stadium that can be used for future championships or other events, so we would have it for a longer term basis,” said Chetty.
The beach soccer stadium will be built next to the Astro Turf pitch at Roche Caiman, a few minutes drive from the Seychelles capital Victoria on the main island of Mahe. It will be financed by FIFA (the world's football governing body), CAF and the SFF.
Chetty told SNA that this represents an investment of around $650 thousand to $820 thousand.
Chetty said that the technical drawings are being prepared at the moment and will be submitted for approval to the Planning Authority, so that the tender process can be launched soon, followed by the start of construction.
Young soccer fans playing beach soccer in the Seychelles islands in training organised by the SFF (Seychelles Nation) Photo license: CC-BY-NC
Seychelles' successful bid to organize this championship was announced by CAF 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.
The 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 first African Beach Soccer Championship to be held in the Seychelles next year 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.
Competitive beach soccer, a sport which started in Brazil, is not very popular on the African continent compared to South America and Europe.
In Seychelles, last year the first beach football league was launched and to date several teams are actively trying to develop the sport.
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.
Eight countries are expected to take part in the African Beach Soccer Championship 2015 in Seychelles.