Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) President, William Lai has revealed his vision for Lawson Tama outlining that it is developing a regional sporting icon into an international standard stadium for the people of Solomon Islands.
“For me what is most important is that the aim to ensure FIFA’s standards are met and the stadium is certified and safe for consumers of football whether you are a player, referee, or football,” says Lai.
Lai’s comments follow the signing of the contract with the Kramer Ausenco, the firm that will design the new 8000 capacity stadium on earlier this week. The green light for the designs to be undertaken came from international football body who will eventually fund up to USD$4 million for the project.
“The stadium has served the public of the capital and beyond it will continue to play an important role in football development as we look ahead to the Pacific Games as well as establishing Honiara city as a key sports city in the region,” Lai adds.
Lai explained that since taking the leadership of SIFF, his board has worked hard to ensure that Lawson Tama is upgraded beyond the work undertaken in the early 2000s and has worked closely with past leaders of Honiara towards this goal.
Lawson Tama is viewed as a mecca for regional footballers who often reflect upon the atmosphere of the stadium and has viewed many historic occasions for Solomon Islands football including the country’s maiden qualification for a FIFA world cup final tournament in 2018 with the national Under-16 team.
The preliminary assessments and design will take place over several months before a tender is run to identify the contractor to construct the stadium. The first phase of the design is expected to be completed in August and will cover the first stand, pitch, and fencing. The second phase will cover the second stand and additional seating.
Lai says that SIFF will work closely with the government and other stakeholders for their support towards the project saying that it is an opportunity to expand the sporting potential of Honiara and Solomon Islands.
“This is project is about the future of football and sports in the Solomon Islands and what we can do now to make tomorrow brighter and stronger for the youths who will grow and want to enjoy football and other sport,” Lai concludes.