Renovation work on Seychelles’ Stad Linite, the national stadium, is expected to begin as soon as funding is secured, so it can meet the standards of the world football governing body, FIFA, and the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) along with the National Sports Council (NSC) are working closely to upgrade the stadium, especially as the country has been barred from hosting international matches since February due to the state of the Stad Linite.
Renovation work on Stad Linite will cost between $800,000 and $1 million.
The chief executive of the federation, Georges Bibi, told SNA that several works need to be done. This includes relaying the pitch, installing proper floodlights and new seating facilities with seats for substitutes and the fourth official, renovating the locker rooms and showers, having a blackboard area for players’ instructions, a massage area in the changing rooms and a medical facility, among others.
“We will need to have separate entrances and exits in the stadium and ramps for less able people will have to be installed and these works will be undertaken by the federation in collaboration with NSC,” said Bibi.
He said that the federation has already begun working on plans and concept drawings for the redevelopment of the stadium. Funding from FIFA will contribute to relaying the pitch and installing floodlights and benches, while the NSC will take care of the stadium’s infrastructure, including revamping the dressing rooms and stands.
Renovation works will include the relaying of the pitch. (Betymie Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
With the stadium not meeting CAF’s standards, Seychelles cannot play any of its international matches on home turf. The men’s national team had to play both of its qualification matches for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 away from home. The Seychellois side was eliminated from the competition by losing 3-1 against Lesotho after a goalless draw in the first match.
Meanwhile, the local football season is scheduled to end in mid-May and there is hope that funding can be secured in time for work to be done during the off-season break, especially where relaying the pitch is concerned.
“Ideally, we want to complete the works and be compliant with CAF and FIFA standards before that start of the 2022/23 season, where our local clubs can also be able to play the continental matches at home and not in another country as is the case at the moment,” Bibi told SNA.
The 12,000-capacity stadium was built in 1992 when Seychelles was gearing up to host the 1993 Indian Ocean Island Games. The first major renovation was done in 2007 with the stadium receiving, in February 2007, a 3rd generation artificial turf pitch with a 1-Star field certification by FIFA’s development programme “Win in Africa with Africa”.
Being the national stadium, Stad Linite is not owned by the SFF and so, it hosts various activities aside from football matches.
“Part of the SFF’s vision is to eventually create a football-only stadium in the country, which will not be affected by other activities, but that depends on whether we are able to locate a piece of land that can be properly developed,” said Bibi.
At the moment, Seychelles has three stadiums to host football matches – Stad Linite, located on the east coast of the main island of Mahe, and two others; one at Amitie on Praslin, the second most populated island and a third on La Digue, the third most populated in the Indian Ocean archipelago.