China to give Timor-Leste an artificial turf football pitch

China will pay for a football pitch in Timor-Leste to be surfaced with artificial turf, making it the first such pitch there, the Chinese Embassy in Díli says.

An agreement to that effect was signed by Chinese Ambassador to Timor-Leste Xiao Jianguo and a Timorese senior official with responsibility for sport, Abrão Saldanha, Mr Xiao’s embassy announced in writing on Wednesday.

The announcement quotes the ambassador as saying the artificial turf will be a gift to mark 20 years of Sino-Timorese diplomatic relations.

The facility may spur the development of football in Timor-Leste, his embassy quotes Mr Xiao as saying.

Separately, Tatoli reports that China will contribute US$300,000 to the renovation of the Lecidere stadium in Dili, due to be finished by May 20.

Two Chinese companies, identified by the report as Hana’i and Shanghai Cooperation, are involved in the project, the Timorese state-run news agency quotes Mr Saldanha as saying.