Monday, April 22, 2024

Youth and Sports Minister Unveils Plans for a New Stadium

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By: Alieu Jallow

During a question session at the National Assembly, the Minister of Youth and Sport unveiled plans for a new stadium for the country, considering the fact that the only existing stadium was built four decades ago by the Chinese government. Minister Badjie informed the August assembly that despite the necessity for a new stadium, the country lacks the budget to fund its construction.

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“The plan is already in place for a thousand-capacity stadium, and the land has been identified. However, these are processes that take time. Therefore, the government needs to collaborate with multilateral and bilateral partners to explore financing options for the project. The commitment from the executive level is high, and we are working towards finding a suitable partner willing to collaborate. It’s important to understand that building a reasonably sized stadium for the country requires $100 million, and some of these funds are not readily available,” outlined Minister Badjie.

When asked by our reporter how soon Gambians can expect a new stadium, the Youth and Sports Minister asserted that they are exploring options from multilateral funding agencies to provide financing, either through credit or grants. He mentioned that this is another aspect for the Ministry of Finance to consider.

“Negotiations are ongoing, and it is premature to specify the exact details of who and how. However, we are in the process, and we hope to achieve a positive outcome soon because the country certainly needs a second stadium as soon as possible,” Badjie emphasized.

In February 2022, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned the Gambia from hosting international games due to failure to meet standard requirements, forcing the country to play their games outside its borders.

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In light of this, the Sports Minister was questioned regarding the current status of the stadium’s readiness to host games. The Youth and Sports Minister informed parliamentarians that the second phase and remodeling of the stadium will be completed soon. He also affirmed that the country will soon commence hosting games at the stadium.

“The Minister of Works has provided estimates, indicating that what needs to be done is achievable within four months, and the contractors have also agreed to this timeline. Last week, the ministry signed a four-month contract, meaning that the stadium will be ready within four months, allowing us to host our future international matches here,” he reassured.

Since its inception in 1967, the country’s only stadium has never undergone major maintenance and rehabilitation of its facilities, posing serious safety risks.

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