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FUFA Negotiates With CAF For Namboole To Host WC Qualifiers :: Uganda Radionetwork

FUFA Negotiates With CAF For Namboole To Host WC Qualifiers

Nambole will not be ready by June to host the visiting teams.
Mandela National stadium New look. Courtesy Picture

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The Federation of Uganda’s Football Associations (FUFA) is in negotiations with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) seeking permission to have Mandela Stadium host Uganda Cranes' World Cup qualifiers in June.

Uganda Cranes are set to face Botswana and Algeria in match-day 3 and 4  in June. URN  has information that FUFA is eager to have these crucial fixtures played at home soil.

The previous international engagements were held away from home due to the unavailability of a suitable stadium. 

A recent inspection report by CAF revealed that Namboole Stadium, which has been undergoing renovations for the past two years still falls short of the required standards to host international games. 

CAF highlighted several deficiencies, including relocating the media tribunal, addressing the unfinished ceiling, upgrading floodlights, improving the VVIP section, and reducing seating capacity from 40,818 to 38,000 due to visibility issues caused by structural posts. 

In response to these concerns, Col Peter Kidemuka, the Project Engineer, assured that most issues were already being addressed and would be resolved soon.

He said the floodlights, a key concern, have been ordered and are expected to arrive shortly. Kidemuka pledged that the stadium would be ready by May 25, 2025, well in advance of the Uganda Cranes' fixtures.  

However, meeting this deadline does not guarantee Namboole's approval by CAF. 

The confederation typically conducts inspections two months before a match and notifies member associations accordingly.  

FUFA's Deputy CEO in Charge of Football, Decolus Kiiza expressed optimism but refrained from confirming Namboole as the venue. 

He indicated ongoing negotiations with CAF to honor the contractor's new deadline and inform Algeria and Botswana of any developments.  Kiiza said the major hindrance is the floodlights.

"It is the only factor that cannot easily be met. So until they are here you can’t guarantee anything, so we are negotiating whether they can allow us to work with that revised program of completion.” Kiiza told URN.

He said if the deadline is not met, FUFA is contemplating relocating Uganda Cranes games to Tanzania or Egypt. 

Should this occur, it would mark the third time within less than two years that Uganda has been compelled to host home matches away from abroad.

First, Uganda Cranes was compelled to host Tanzania at the Suez Canal Authority Stadium in Egypt after St. Mary’s stadium Kitende which had been Uganda Cranes home ground since 2021 failed the CAF requirements to host the Uganda Cranes’ matches.

Also, in June 2023, Uganda Cranes was once again compelled to host its African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying match against Algeria in Cameroon after Fufa inspected the Mandela National Stadium and confirmed that it is not yet ready to host the qualifiers.  

This particular decision forced Minister Ogwang to apologize to the country since he had on March 29, 2023, assured Ugandan football fans that the Cranes' next home game would be hosted at Mandela National Stadium.   

When CAF awarded East Africa the hosting rights for the 2027 African Cup of Nations, concerns arose about the readiness of the three countries involved to host such a prestigious tournament.

Among the three East African nations that submitted a joint bid, Tanzania is the only country with a stadium approved by CAF.  

According to CAF, the host nation should possess six stadiums to accommodate the 24 participating teams, including two 40,000-capacity stadiums, two 20,000-seater stadiums, and two with a capacity of 15,000.  

However, FUFA boss Moses Magogo, who is also a former CAF Executive member said that the CAF does not base its decisions on a country's current infrastructure but rather on the country's plans to fulfill the requirements for hosting the tournament before the actual dates, as well as the commitment of the respective governments of the interested countries. 

Following the successful bid, each of the three countries embarked on either constructing new stadiums or renovating existing ones to meet CAF standards. Failure by either country would jeopardize the bid for the entire East Africa region. 

In Uganda, the primary focus was on renovating Namboole and constructing two additional international stadiums in Arua (Akii Bua) and Hoima. However, concerns linger regarding the feasibility of constructing these stadia from scratch within record time, given that the renovation of Namboole alone has exceeded two years.  

State Minister Peter Ogwang attributed all delays to the Ministry of Finance's failure to release necessary funds on time.

On the new stadiums to be constructed, Ogwang says that he is in the final stages of negotiations with SUMA Construction Company which will host Hoima stadium, as well as Qatar Sport and SAMCO construction companies that are expected to construct Akii Bua.  

He said these international firms could construct the stadia within a record time of 20 months. 

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Cue out: … the 17 billion”//

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