After five years of waiting a date has been announced for the opening of the JFK Football Stadium in Gizo, Western Province.
The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) has set the date December 8 for the opening of the stadium which will coincide with the Western Province Second Appointed Day.
It will be marked with a match from the country’s top football league, the Telekom S-league most probably hosting Western United FC.
This was revealed yesterday by the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) president, William Lai after a brief meeting with the Western Province Premier, Pye Robert Kuve.
It took five years of on and off work for the FIFA Goal project to be completed.
Lai told Star Sports that it is a must that SIFF completes these projects which has been left unfinished for quite some time.
The project was commissioned in September, 2009 and work began on June 2010.
“The focus now will be on JFK completion.
“It is a must that we complete all outstanding projects before more funding comes in from the World Governing Football body, FIFA.
“Also the completion of this stadium will help host some of the big football events,” he said.
Western Province premier highlighted that the completion of the project will have a positive impact on the people of Western Province especially the youth.
“The completion of this project will bring together many youths from all ages to engage in sports and do away from alcohol and drugs related activities.
“People of Western Province along with the Western Province Football Association (WFA) are waiting for the stadium to open its gates so they can organize competitions and play sports,” he said.
The date revealed means there is only three months left of work before the opening and Turf expert, Rueben Oimae assured SIFF and the Western Province Premier that it is possible to have the turf ready before the opening.
SIFF will send Oimae to Gizo this weekend to see what materials are needed to resume work and complete it by the date revealed.
The JFK stadium is funded by the FIFA Goal III Project and involved the resurfacing of the existing pitch to international requirements as well as addition of an office building and grandstand seating.
The FIFA Goal program has had significant success in Solomon Islands.
In 2000 Solomon Islands was among the first 11 countries to benefit from it with the Lawson Tama stadium upgrade under FIFA Goal I.
Following the successful upgrade to Lawson Tama FIFA Goal II was initiated to build the SIFF headquarters and academy facilities in Honiara.
The Aligegeo stadium in Auki, Malaita Province, is another provincial stadium getting a FIFA Goal III project funded facelift.
Once both stadiums are complete they will be able to host national league matches.
By CARLOS ARUAFU