Why Has the Completion of Namboole Stadium Renovation Been Delayed As Per the Plan

The Mandela (Namboole) National Stadium was ruled unfit to host the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, or any other continental or international event in 2020 by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), citing infrastructure issues.

At the Mandela Stadium, the football bodies discovered that the field, restrooms, pavilion, and changing rooms were in terrible condition and advised a complete reconstruction.

As a way of responding to the call of the football bodies the government through the Ministry of Education and Sport contracted the Engineering Brigade from the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) to foster the renovation project and also put up a perimeter fence wall that will bar people from encroaching on the stadium’s land.

In February 2022, the UPD Engineering Brigade embarked on the renovation project of the country’s national stadium beginning with the construction of the perimeter wall fence which approximately cost Shs2.3bn, this was the first phase.

As per the plan after the completion of the perimeter wall, they embarked on phase two which was the total renovation of the stadium which was to consume over Shs67billion which money and was approved in the budget of the financial year 2023/24.

According to the project plan, the total period of the project was approximately 15 months, if it’s delayed since the government wanted at least Uganda Cranes to host one of the games in the recent AFCON qualifier game and the probable match, was that of Algeria which was to take place on 12 June 2023.

Last year in March the Minister of State for Sports Peter Ogwang informed the country that the government was doing all it takes to ensure that Mandela National Stadium, Namboole is ready by June 2023.

“As of now, UPDF was able to secure the entire Namboole land by fencing. UPDF was able to begin renovations by demolishing the dilapidating structures in the hotel and stadium. UPDF has finalized issuing all contracts and now await the delivery of what is required to have the stadium ready for our next game,” he said during the plenary last year in March.

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However, nothing went as it was planned, since up to now the only country’s international stadium is still under renovation and Uganda can not host any serious international football matches, this has left the national team as a wonderer who hosts his visitors in a neighbour’s room or compound.

To make matters worse, the recent CAF inspection report also indicated that Namboole’s current renovation works are below the required standard and subsequently were not approved for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers late in June.

“Based on the pre-inspection it is noted that the works in several areas of the exterior and interior zones of the stadium are still in progress and not yet complete, and according to Caf stadium approval procedures”, reads part of the report.

The report added; “An approval is only given when the stadium is compliant with the requirement at the time of the inspection which is not the case at the time, which is not the case for Mandela National Stadium, caf is not therefore in a position to grant an additional period for the completion of the works.”

The CAF inspection report has shocked many Ugandans. According to Federation of Uganda Football Association president Moses Magogo, the CAF inspection was right because the current status of the stadium at that time would not favour it.

“The way CAF operates is that they inspect the stadium according to its current status and when they were here the truth is that we could not have a match in the stadium because of the uncompleted works. The uncompleted works go far beyond what people see. If you go to Namboole today and take a selfie it looks good but for the football match to take place certain technical issues must be accomplished,” he said during the plenary on Tuesday.

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Magogo went on and revealed that as of now that stadium has no substitute benches. “So it could be good on the outside for the seers but until the inspector ticks the boxes that a match can take place at that particular moment. So when CAF was here the inspection they did it was not practical that a football match could take place.”

Though the original plan called for completion by June 2023, with the stadium ready for use, there is still one unanswered question: why is the Namboole renovation still ongoing?

While answering the question above on the floor of Parliament during the Tuesday plenary Minister Ogwang revealed that issues of finance have caused some delay since the Minister of Finance had delayed disbursing the last portion of money (Shs17.6 billion) for over six months.

“True as a minister I promised the country that the stadium would be completed by last year in line with the plan but you have seen a delay which was caused by failing to release the balance of money for the last six months. There was another problem which caused another delay; that was getting the drawings of the stadium, do you know that one officer had refused to release those drawings for the purposes of wanting the government to pay him?”

He went on and noted that the delay of the project must not be pinned on the contractor (UPDF Engineering Brigade) becuse he was always at the site but they should blame the Ministry of Finance which has failed to release money for over half a year.

The post Why Has the Completion of Namboole Stadium Renovation Been Delayed As Per the Plan appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.


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