Orange Farm to get soccer pitch

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Johannesburg - Orange Farm will have a spanking new artificial football pitch by October, thanks to FIFA's World Cup legacy programme.

Complete with change rooms, training lights and security fencing, the stadium will serve the youth of Orange Farm, one of the poorer communities in the south of Johannesburg.

It will have a clubhouse and an office to be used by the local football community, reports

The artificial pitch is one of 27 that are planned for townships and rural areas, at a cost of R81-million, in the legacy programme of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) and the National Lotteries Trust Fund (NLDTF).

The first nine pitches have already been approved. Ultimately, each province will have three artificial pitches located next to a school or public institution in a programme that will run over three years.

Speaking at a media conference at SAFA House in Nasrec early this week the OC chief executive, Dr Danny Jordaan, said the artificial pitches would significantly improve grassroots football development.

"I am very happy to announce that this project is taking off the ground. We need to strengthen grassroots development by providing quality football fields to accelerate the generation of world-class players at the level of the regions of SAFA.

"The 27 fields will be the catalyst to build a new generation of footballers and I am delighted that the World Cup can contribute to this important development."

Dr Jordaan said the development of grassroots football in South Africa was part of a broader programme by FIFA to develop football in Africa. Already, 30 artificial pitches had been completed in other countries on the continent.

"We are working together with footballers like E'to, Kanu and Seedorf to uplift football around the continent. There are also the 20 Centres for 2010 that are being built in Africa. Five of these will be built in South Africa to help the development of grassroots football."

There are other projects over and above the artificial pitches that will leave a lasting legacy after the 2010 World Cup is over. Dr Jordaan mentioned the 2010 host stadiums as one of the biggest legacies of the tournament.

"All these stadiums comply with FIFA regulations. This is the first time in our history that we are building football and not football-cum-rugby stadiums. There are also training stadiums like the Rand and Orlando stadiums in Johannesburg that will contribute to the development of football in the country," he said.

Environmental projects were also underway around the country. These included greening stadiums in townships, planting trees and reducing carbon emissions.

The NLDTF media liaison officer, Sershan Naidoo, said he hoped the R81-million grant would have a positive effect on the lives of young people in the areas where the pitches would be built.

"We hope these stadiums will keep youth occupied. The legacy of these pitches can only live on if these facilities are used to the maximum by communities concerned," he said.

Local authorities where the artificial pitches are located will make sure they are maintained and kept in good condition.