Sports arena set to lure Fauresmith youths

The Kopanong Local Municipality is hoping a revamped multi-sports facility in Fauresmith, the Free State’s second oldest town situated 130km south-west of provincial capital Bloemfontein, will help keep young people away from drugs and vice.

A total of R5.7-million has been pumped into the refurbishment of the town’s main sports venue, which is expected to reopen for public use at the end of July.

The facelift started in February this year thanks to funds from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.

The Fauresmith Sports Facility will now boast brand new soccer pitch, athletics track as well as netball, tennis and volleyball courts.

Dressing rooms for both male and female sportspersons as well as a 150-capacity grandstand with ablution facilities for spectators are also new features of the upgraded facility, while two mast lights and an underground irrigation system will also be installed.

Kopanong executive mayor Xolile Matwa said Fauresmith and all other towns falling under the jurisdiction of his municipality – like anywhere else across South Africa – were battling drug abuse among especially the jobless youths.

He said council, by prioritising the refurbishment of the sport facilities, was hoping to keep the young ones from drugs and other criminal activities.

“We all know that an idle mind is the workshop of the devil, so to curb this and to address issues of youth delinquency we saw it fit to come up with this initiative as one of the many interventions to make the life of our people better,” Matwa said, as he led councillors inspecting progress made in refurbishing the Fauresmith Sports Facility last week.

Municipal projects management unit head Nkululeko Kelepu said the local authority’s plan was to have the facility open for use to the nine other towns in Kopanong.

He said the Kopanong Sports Council, a stakeholder in the project, would work to ensure that the facility is used to the maximum by all sporting disciplines, including schools in the area.

Mpho Kobung, 19, an aspiring soccer player living in the area, said doing his routine exercise and training will be much easier when upgrades at the facility are completed.

“For now we have had to make do with exercising in dirt, and this discouraged a lot of young people from participating in sports,” he said.

“But now with this facility completed I believe even the mindset of our young people is going to change.”