UEFA Champions League winners Maniche and Costinha officially opened a new maxi-pitch at Clube Oriental de Lisboa on Thursday, as part of UEFA Grassroots Day.
It is the fifth successive year that UEFA has donated a cutting-edge 3G facility to the final's host city, ensuring that a lasting legacy remains for local youngsters long after Saturday's showpiece, and Maniche, who won the trophy with FC Porto in 2004, welcomed the new addition.
"Above all I want to praise the initiative of UEFA," said the former Porto, SL Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal midfielder, "for helping to create this space and for helping to fulfil a dream of a club like Oriental. It's also a dream for all Portuguese, and a huge privilege to host not just the men's UEFA Champions League but also the UEFA Women's Champions League in Portugal and in Lisbon."
Work on the maxi-pitch began just after Christmas, after the site was nominated for development by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). The new state-of-the-art facility replaces the previous sand and gravel pitch at the same location and offers youngsters a safe environment where they can play football for years to come.
With Oriental's senior team requiring just a point from their game at FC Ferreiras this weekend to seal promotion to Liga 2, the future is bright for the club, with five junior sides set up to continue the success in future generations.
The inauguration of the maxi-pitch was part of celebrations all over Europe for UEFA Grassroots Day, with activities arranged by many of UEFA's member associations to promote football's foundations and, in the week of the men's and women's UEFA Champions League finals, highlight the link between the elite and grassroots levels of the game.
The 2014 UEFA Grassroots Day Awards were also announced, with some of the most notable contributions to the grassroots game acknowledged in the categories of Best Leader, Best Club and Best Project.
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