Local sports facilities are safe

14th September 2017
GREEN LIGHT: Olopeng is concerned about safety. Source:The Midweek Sun

Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng says local stadiums are safe and they do not foresee any repeated life threatening incidents occurring during any sporting activity. Olopeng made the remark early this week in Gaborone during a media briefing. He strongly assured that the community should not fear attending football games or any other sporting activity hosted, this follows the recent death of a young woman during a music festival held in Gaborone at the national stadium.

The said lady is alleged to have died due to stampede; this has since aroused mixed feelings and high public disapproval over the level of security in stadiums with masses threatening to boycott events held in stadiums. Olopeng put the blame on the wrong behaviour of certain individuals who abused substances on the day.

“There is no need to worry, what transpired was a deliberate action by individuals who had their own agendas, I do not want to believe that as far as games are concerned, we shall encounter such problems,” he said. Olopeng said investigations are still ongoing as to what really led to the tragedy and today (Wednesday) the cabinet is expected to discuss the way forward in order to prevent repetition of the incident.

He said the government has decided to allow ongoing of all the planned activities until December 2017 while they are still deciding on how best to deal with the matter. He however warned that should the unpleasant tendency persist, the government will not shy away from putting everything on hold until they upgrade the security and redo everything afresh. Asked about the current state of the stadium, he said the national stadium is not in good state and very much damaged with many broken bottles on the pitch as well as damaged windows, chairs and drainages.

Olopeng added that the national stadium was refurbished in 2010, with that, they have full confidence in that the stadium’s current standard does not put anybody at risk should any life threatening situations arise. On the other hand, the Premier League games are scheduled to begin on 25th September 2017 and according to the Botswana Premier League (BPL) fixtures, no game will be played at the national stadium for the first four weeks.

Furthermore there is worry within the local football fraternity that while the matter is still being investigated, majority are at risk of being attacked, robbed or raped especially during night games. “Batswana should not be disturbed, we have measures put in place to guard against such instances and we can assure that we will reinforce security to ensure maximum safety during play offs,” said BPL CEO Thabo Ntshinogang in an interview.

Ntshinogang said his office will be up on its toes to ensure that they avoid issues of overcrowding leading to stampedes, we are aware of the stadiums sitting capacities and we shall continue protecting the welfare of all our supporters and even players,” said Ntshinogang.

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