Monday, April 22, 2024

‘We are almost there’: Sports minister believes stadium is close to meeting CAF standard after preliminary inspection

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

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The Minister of Youth and Sports, Honourable Bakary Y. Badjie, has said the Independence Stadium is close to meeting the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standard requirements, which will allow the Gambia to play at home in September following preliminary inspections made by CAF’s head of professional football, Muhammad F. Sidat, on Saturday.

On Saturday, July 15, Mr Sidat conducted a preliminary survey of the ongoing work at the stadium and made some recommendations to the ministry to work on enabling the stadium to meet the CAF requirements to host its games.

After having an internal meeting with the CAF field inspector Mr. Sidat, considering the work done and the recommendations by the CAF field inspector, the Minister of Youth and Sports told the press that the field is not far from meeting the requirements.

“It is not far from reaching the requirements. The major things are done. I will not be able to give you the exact percentage, we are almost there,” Badjie said.

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He expressed optimism over the country playing at the Independence Stadium in September.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to play here in September. But that is a decision that CAF is the only authority that can make. Our responsibility as authorities is to go by the guide and do what is expected,” he said.

The CAF field inspector, who commended the ministry for the ongoing works, made certain recommendations to the Honourable minister, who in turn filtered down the recommendations to the contractors to work on to meet all the requirements. These observations and recommendations include the media tribune, the tunnel around the dressing room and the outside view of the stadium.

The Honourable Youth and Sports Minister stated that he took note of the observations and recommendations and that the coming weeks will be used to tick those boxes before the final inspection period in August, which will decide if the Gambia will host Congo in Bakau at the Independence Stadium or not.

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“Moving forward, we will be using the coming weeks to try to improve in the areas he observed and recommended, alongside completing what has been started. There were some observations that were never part of the job that he had made. But we have taken note of that, and we will work on those as well,” he highlighted.

The Fatu Network understands that the Minister of Youth and Sports has been constantly monitoring and visiting the Independence Stadium’s ongoing work to ensure that the country hosts its home games in the coming months.

The CAF inspection team will come back to the Gambia in August to reassess and do the final inspection to see if the stadium meets the standards. There are hopes that the country will be able to meet the requirements before August.

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