ACTING Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki yesterday officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a M1 billion worth athletes’ village for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) 2020 Region 5 Games and the Maseru 2022 Africa Youth Games in Roma.
The facility will be housed within the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Roma campus. It will have 3000 residential units, a 4000-seater football and athletics stadium, NUL recreational Centre and a tennis court.
Yesterday’s ceremony comes after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane also turned the sod in August for the construction of the 20 000-seater Lepereng football stadium and a 3000-seater indoor sports facility. The indoor facility will be used for 41 different sporting codes.
However, the construction of the Lepereng facilities is yet to commence.
Lesotho hosts the AUSC Region 5 Games in December 2020. They will be followed by the 2022 Africa Youth Games.
Moleleki pledged the government’s commitment to investing in sports. He said the sporting industry had grown immensely in recent years.
“Sport has grown to be one of the biggest industries in the world and if you invest in it, you ensure that the country’s young are healthy, disciplined and also teach them how to work together,” Moleleki said.
“I am proud that the government is today officiating in the sod-turning of a project that is aimed at changing the lives of Basotho children.
“Sport has become of the biggest industries for young people and just look at how many millions the likes of Paul Pogba (Manchester United football player) is making through sports. So, when you develop sports, you are building one of the greatest industries for young people.”
He said the construction will create 1000 jobs for the Roma community.
“Through this project 1000 jobs will be created for Roma people. I am pleading with the contractors who will work on the project to avoid discrimination when they start hiring,” Moleleki said.
NUL vice chancellor Manthoto Lephoto said when Sports minister Mahali Phamotse pitched the project to them, it was easy for them to be convinced.
“At first, we were confused what the project had to do with the university but once she finished her pitch, we knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We knew that this was not only about NUL but also about the whole Basotho nation. We thank the Sports ministry for choosing us. We are also grateful to the Ministry of Education and Training for its support,” Lephoto said.