Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The proposed renovation of Mandela National Stadium, Namboole has stalled due to the delayed release of funds by the government, management has revealed. Mandela National stadium has not hosted any international competition for almost two years since it was banned by the world soccer governing body-FIFA. Currently, the pavilion stands are filled with dust.
In May 2020, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) disqualified Mandela National Stadium from hosting the 2022 world cup qualifiers as well as Afcon qualifiers and any other continental and international engagement, saying the facility is substandard.
The football bodies found the pitch, toilets, pavilion, and dressing rooms at the Mandela Stadium in a very bad shape and recommended total renovation. Mandela stadium has been the home ground for the national team, the Uganda Cranes since 2002.
While addressing the heads of Sports Federations in the country at the end of 2021, the Sports State Minister, Hamson Obua indicated that the cabinet under the leadership of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni had approved a supplementary budget allocation of Shillings 67 billion towards the renovation of the stadium for the first time since it was established in 1999.
He said that the money would be released to all the qualified entities, therefore believes renovation works will start before end of January.
However, Hajji Jamir Ssewanyana, the Managing Director of Mandela National Stadium says that they are yet to get the money. “We haven’t received funds. They were allocated but we are still waiting,” Ssewanyana said briefly.
The plans to renovate the facility delayed when the government turned it into a COVID-19 treatment center until late last year when the country experienced a second wave. Although the Health Ministry discharged all COVID-19 patients from the stadium by the end of last year, URN understands that some patients were admitted to the stadium at the beginning of January 2022.
Currently, Uganda relies on St. Mary’s Stadium Kitende, a privately-owned facility by Lawrence Mulindwa to host international games. However, the facility also lacks floodlights, which is one of the key requirements for a stadium to host a FIFA guided match.
If the funds are secured, the renovations will cover the dressing rooms, playing surface, running track, installation of desks and air conditioners in the media and VIP sections, seats in the general public stands, and upgrading floodlights as directed by CAF.