Government has again extended the deadline for the completion of the renovation works on Mandela National Stadium, also known as Namboole.
Whereas it had been said by the UPDF Engineering brigade handling the works that the stadium would be ready by last month, the Education Minister, Janet Museveni has said the actual deadline was August but noted this has been extended.
“In light of these significant undertakings, I have approved an extension for these intervention efforts, shifting the initial completion date from August 1st, 2023, to November 30th, 2023. This extension was granted upon request by the project’s main contractor, the UPDF Engineering Brigade. As we eagerly anticipate our next visit in November, we look forward to witnessing the fully revitalized stadium,” Mrs. Museveni said.
The Education Minister said during her recent visit to the stadium, she evaluated the progress of the renovation works, noting that she later received a detailed report which indicated that the works are progressing in line with FIFA standards.
The renovation plan is extensive and incorporates numerous critical upgrades to the stadium. These include the integration of a state-of-the-art ticketing and access control system, installation of solar lighting to mitigate utility costs, and establishment of an efficient drainage and irrigation system. The projects further involve the creation of a 4.2km perimeter wall, along with the refurbishment and elevation of the Namboole stadium and hotel to match international standards.”
The minister hailed the UPDF Engineering Brigade for ” their outstanding work in overhauling the stadium” but recommended a regular maintenance plan for the stadium and other government structures.
Officially opened in 1997, the 35000 capacity Mandela National Stadium also known as Namboole is home to the country’s national football team, the Cranes.
Since construction by Chinese over 20 years ago, the stadium has not seen any major renovations around it which is a cause for alarm.
“The stadium has got out-dated infrastructure – the bowl, halogen floodlights that consume a lot of power, electrical installations that are not readily available on the market, sanitary facilities need repair or change of plumbing installations,” Mandela National Stadium Managing Director Jamil Ssewanyana told Daily Monitor recently.
“Then the lack of a CCTV system and real time access controls (turnstiles) to monitor the stadium users on entering the stadium, during and after events.”
In 2020, CAF released a report in which it deemed the stadium unfit to host any international matches including Cranes qualifiers.
The facility had failed to meet both the continental body and world football governing body-FIFA standards, prompting the ban.
CAF highlighted the playing surface, size of the pitch, dressing rooms, floodlights, pavilion, technical bench, media centre and parking among others that are in a dire state.
Consequently, Uganda has not been able to host African Nations Cup and World Cup qualifying games from home, opting for stadia in other countries.
Uganda hosted its previous Afcon qualifying game in Cameroon and lost 2-1 to visitors Algeria.