By Ali Mutanje
After initial inspections of the Namboole National Stadium by CAF and FIFA delegates early last year, the report found it way below international standards to host games.
The two football bodies tasked Uganda to improve dressing rooms, work on the media tribone, install CCTV cameras and improve the playing surface.
However, FUFA opted to use the St. Mary’s Kitende stadium to host home fixtures. FIFA and CAF temporarily approved this stadium to host Mali in October after ticking off most of the basic requirements set by FIFA.
The biggest beneficiary would be Mr. Lawrence Mulindwa the proprietor of St. Mary’s Kitende who would be paid by FUFA for Uganda to host its home games at the stadium.
Silver lining for Namboole
There is still hope that Namboole can be refurbished in time to meet FIFA standards.
The Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifications were postponed from June 2021 to September-October-November frame.
This presents an opportunity for the stakeholders and all concerned to do the necessary basics to meet FIFA standards and ensure the Cranes host their next home game at Namboole.
Additionally, Parliament recently approved UGX.30bn for the initial works on the stadium, the rest is to be released in the July quarter of the 2021/2022 government Financial Year. All this is a token of the UGX.430bn lump sum that was allocated for the full construction of the stadium as proposed initially by the planners.
Hopefully, Mr.Jamil Ssewanyana who is the managing director of the stadium and his team will be able to complete work by 4th October 2021.
Uganda begin their World Cup qualifiers with a visit to the Harambee Stars in September before hosting Mali in October. Hopefully the gates will be open and Bweyogerere will be flooded with Cranes fans as they cheer on their nation to the World Cup.