BOLTON is set to become a league leader in five-a-side football with the opening of its first indoor complex.

Goals Arena will provide two ‘rubber crumb’ 3G pitches at a former warehouse in Riversdale Industrial Estate, off Hacken Lane, Darcy Lever.

As well as the two 40m x 10m playing areas, it will also boast a sports bar, male and female changing rooms, disabled access and a TV area where people can relax after a game.

And there are plans to add a mezzanine floor for spectators to view the game from at the 10,000 sq ft warehouse.

The facility, due to open early next month, is the realisation of a dream for University of Bolton sports science graduate Aqib Nawaz.

He said: “I’ve had the idea since my college days but didn’t have the financial investment. A lot of people told me it wouldn’t work.

“It’s something new for Bolton. It’s a large town and compared to some other towns we have so much to offer.

“It was only a matter of time before we needed something like this. We have trampolining and a climbing wall but football is an absolute go-to sport.”

The 23-year-old, who has played cricket for Darcy Lever and Farnworth Social Circle, added: “At first I wanted to do something within cricket. But I did some research and the one thing I found out was that football can bring communities together and help people change.

“My dad got me into sport and it taught me about discipline, how to work as part of a team and respect.

“Sport has done that for me and I hope that can happen for Bolton and Greater Manchester.”

But the Former St James High School pupil admits that brining his plan to fruition was not without its challenges.

After leaving university he was unable to find a job in sports science degree and was also unsuccessful with an application to join the police.

He gained the backing and the Football Association and Sport England for his idea of an indoor five-a-side facility.

But that would have meant reluctantly relinquishing control to a big organisation.

Ultimately he was able to rely on the support of his family including his brother Awais.

He said: “I wanted to go down my route and my strategy to build partnerships and build bridges.

“I just think it will be fantastic and I will be reaching out to all the communities in Bolton.

“I want to bring people together under one roof to enjoy football.

“Everyone is welcome, all ages and backgrounds, male, female and disabled people.

“It’s going to be a massive arena for people to come and play on.”

Goals Arena is expected to open to the public on December 5.

and there will also be open days ahead of the official launch.

Any companies interested in sponsorship opportunities with Goals Arena, or teams who may want to train at the complex should email