Free State stadium plans on track

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

Alterations to Bloemfontein's 2010 Fifa World Cup stadium in the Free State will start in July, but beds still seem to be the biggest problem, the Mangaung Host City organisation said yesterday.

"The most important issue for us is the upgrade of the stadium," said George Mohlakoana, chief executive of Mangaung Host City.

He said the city would receive R221million from central government to complete upgrades, which included increasing the spectator capacity of the stadium from about 38000 to 48000.

Mohlakoana said the original cost estimates were R280million

"We had to go back to the board and redesign our plan. We revisited the design and brought the cost down to R245million. The city has decided to stand in for R24million," he said.

"Other upgrades include floodlights, a public address system, closed circuit TV for in and around the stadium, and media facilities," he said.

Mohlakoana hoped the tender would be advertised next month and in March and awarded in May.

The Free State's capital city however faces a huge shortage of beds for soccer visitors.

"Accommodation is the biggest challenge facing us," he said.

The city has only about 6500 beds in the tourism sector, but about 20000 beds are required.

Mohlakoana said they would link up with neighbouring cities like Kimberley and Maseru in Lesotho to solve the problem.

"We are also working on ideas for home-based stay, where residents make their homes available to visitors," he said. - With Sapa