A stunning aerial shot taken via drone, showcasing Lh. Kurendhoo’s brand-new turf field located on the north east side of the island, is trending across popular social media channels in the Maldives to the rhythm of continually enthusiastic comments and shares.
Designed to evoke the spirit of Football in every enthusiast, the emerald patch nestled amongst tropical greenery, facing an equally vivid blue gradient towards the coast of the island - this football field is easily the most picturesque grounds photographed in the country.
What the image fails to portray however, is the amount of blood, sweat and tears put into building it by Kurendhoo’s 2100 islanders.
In the words of one young man, “This field represents our island’s shared love of Football.”
Although supported by help and sponsorship extended by local businesses and the government, island’s youth population not only built the field themselves, the majority share of the money invested in the project was from communal savings they gathered.
Inspired in a truly Maldivian fashion, by a momentous conversation over coffee, the youth of Kurendhoo officially commenced work on the 17th of March 2018. Within an year, the sandy plot on the north east side of the island had been transformed into a lush grassy turf.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports contributed MVR 400, 980 towards the project valued at over 1.6 million Maldivian Rufiyaa. The remaining amount was wholly derived from the communal savings, with USD 300 dollars being contributed from each player of the 9 active football clubs that exist on the island. The community also collected donations via work day events that were held throughout the island.
“The actual physical work of building the football pitch was also conducted by the people of Kurendhoo. We imported turf materials, and laid the turf ourselves,” said Mr. Ismail Madhih, President of the Kurendhoo Island Council.
The first stage of the project which involves laying the turf and building walls and fences to contain the the pitch is set to be completed before the beginning of the Ramadan period. Following its completion, the second stage of the project involving the installment of lights and rostrums, is slated to begin.
“We are working to gather the funds for the remaining work”, said Turf Committee Member, Mohamed Shaan Abdullah. “Our hope is that by building this field, we will help generate national-level professional football players from Kurendhoo.”
Although Kurendhoo is yet to earn its share of football accolades, the island has produced its own rising star, Abdul-Waheed (Waadu), a promising first division player. Previously a member of local football club Valencia, he now plays for United Victory Club.
The Maldivian government, as well as the Football Association of Maldives, have pledged to assist in the development of Kurendhoo’s football field.
Plans are currently underway to utilize the grounds for hosting matches within FAM’s recently initiated nationwide Independant Champion Football League system, which will see participation from clubs from every island in the Maldives.