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MINISTER: Cranes vs Algeria match will be in Namboole in June

Namboole as it looks today.

Among names team to assess Namboole stadium works

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s game against Algeria will be played at a refurbished Mandela Nation Stadium at Namboole, State Minister for Sports Peter Ogwang has assured Ugandan soccer fans.

“The game against Algeria will be played here in Namboole Stadium on 12th June. That is my promise to Ugandans,” Ogwang said about Namboole two days after the national team Cranes stunned Tanzania 1-0 away from home to put their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign back on track.

The Cranes campaign has been marred by Uganda’s failure to host their game against Tanzania last week due to unavailability of a stadium in the country of CAF standards. Uganda was forced to host Tanzania in Ismailia, Egypt. They lost the game 1-0.

The St Mary’s Kitende stadium that has been hosting Cranes, was disqualified because government has failed to improve the road infrastructure leading to the stadium. CAF sees this as a major hurdle in case of emergencies at the stadium.

FILE PHOTO: Namboole had been turned into a COVID-19 isolation centre

Ogwang said works inside Namboole are on course. He revealed that he had chaired a stakeholders’ meeting of UPDF engineers and Namboole management and was optimistic.

Namboole went into disuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it was used as a treatment centre.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has instituted a team to assess the progress of the renovation of Namboole stadium whose delay Members of Parliament said has caused government financial loss.

“We will not keep on budgeting for Namboole before we know what Shs97 billion Parliament appropriated has done; we need accountability,” said Among while naming the team on Thursday, 30 March 2023.

The five man team will be led by the Leader of the Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga and is comprised of Maurice Kibalya (Indep.,. Bugabula South),  Paul Omara (Indep,. Otuke County) and Christine Kaaya (NUP. Kiboga).

The team is charged with visiting Namboole Stadium to establish whether the funds disbursed have been well utilised.

Among’s directive follows complaints from MPs on what they termed as wasteful expenditure, when Uganda Cranes travelled to Egypt to play its home game against Tanzania.

Among said such expenditure was unnecessary and that funds spent to transport and maintain the Cranes in Egypt would have been put to better use.

“Tell us why we should not hold you accountable for paying to play a game in another country; that was a nugatory expenditure. You should have used that money to play from here,” said Among while addressing the State Minister for Sports, Ogwang.

Legislators said besides Nambole, government had budgeted for renovation of several other stadia but that implementation has dragged.

“We passed a budget to build a stadium in Masaka district; we are now going to the fourth quarter; we have moved in all the corridors of Ministry of Finance but nothing is being done,” said Kimaanya-Kabonera MP,  Abed Bwanika.
Berdege-Layibi Division MP, Martin Mapenduzi said the renovation of the stadium in Gulu City was meant to commence three years ago but no works have  been done.

“It would be fair for government to tell the people of Gulu what happened to the plan to renovate the stadium, because even a consultant had been hired, the designs were drawn but we do not know what happened to the designs,” Mapenduzi said.

The Buhweju County MP, Francis Mwijukye said government was sending wrong signals by failing to implement projects for which money was been provided.

“Why should we continue to give money for projects you are not implementing? You are telling the public that Parliament appropriates money; we need to send a serious warning to the executive,” Mwijukye said.

Ogwang said Namboole Stadium was at the moment ineligible to host the Confederation African Football (CAF) games, a reason the Uganda Cranes had to travel to Egypt.

He said he was closely following up the UPDF engineering brigade to ensure renovation at Namboole is complete by June 2023.

“As of now, our focus is to have the stadium ready for our next game which is scheduled on 12 June 2023. Much of the work remaining is on fitting; fitting chairs for example does not take a month. We want the stadium ready by 01 June to satisfy all CAF requirements,” said Ogwang.


SOURCE: Parliament media




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