Urgent renovations needed at Sam Nujoma Stadium

24 March 2021 | Sports

Namibian football will be dealt another blow if the Sam Nujoma Stadium is not brought up to the standards of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).
If Namibia fails to upgrade the stadium to CAF standards, it will join the likes of Burkina Faso, Swaziland and Sierra Leone, whose stadiums have been declared unfit for international matches, forcing them to play all their home African Nations Cup qualifiers matches in other countries.
CAF issued a circular to the Namibia Football Association last month which said the Sam Nujoma Stadium does not meet requirements for a CAF approved category three stadium.

Myriad issues
The report pointed out a number of problems at the stadium, which was completed in 2005 and is used by the Namibia Football Association (NFA) for its international matches. It said the pitch and surrounding areas need to be fixed, the dressing rooms are in poor condition and outdated and there must be individual seats in the stadium, which also needs to be modernised. It also said the stadium requires sufficient sanitary facilities for spectators.
NFA secretary general Franco Cosmos said they have brought all these matters to the attention of the City of Windhoek (CoW), which owns the stadium. “We have pointed out most of these things to them but they are in the process of appointing a new CEO. At least CAF gave us a grace period to host our match against Guinea here and after that if things are not fixed, we will have to come up with other plans,” Cosmos said.
He added that playing their matches elsewhere due to a lack of approved stadiums in the country is a bridge they are only prepared to cross when they start preparing for their FIFA World Cup qualifiers. “If the stadiums are not fixed we will have to play elsewhere and there are cost implications,” he said.

The only other stadium previously approved for international matches was Independence Stadium, but that stadium has not been used for this purpose for nearly 10 years.
The CoW’s Corporate Communications Manager Harold Akwenye said updating the artificial turf and obtaining a FIFA Field Certificate which is not older than two years as required by CAF, forms part of their plans at the moment.
“This has been budgeted for and is pending the capital expenditure approval for the 2021/22 financial year. The overall pitch condition must be improved and the surface must be levelled, green and marked clearly in white,” Akwenye said, adding that there are also issues with the drainage system, thus the entire playing surface must be repaired.
Installing individual seats is another item planned for the 2021/22 financial year.
With regards to the cleanliness of the stadium and it being improved to international standards, Akweyne stated that there are always cleaners on site, while the modernising of the stadium is also dependent on capital expenditure approval.

Other plans
Sivute Katamba, the Director of Sport in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, said that plans are in the pipeline for the Independence Stadium, which has not been in use for international matches for almost a decade, as it does not meet CAF standards.
“We have a memorandum of understanding in place with the government of Japan, one of which is for them to help fix the stadium. We are working on a budget that will be handed over to them so that they can help.”
The CAF report availed to the NFA indicated that the match between Namibia and Guinea on 28 March 2021 will be the last to be played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium until these issues are addressed. – Nampa

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