Mrs Museveni assures Namboole stadium contractors of remaining funds

Mrs Museveni assures Namboole stadium contractors of remaining funds
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KAMPALA | The Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs Janet Kataha Museveni, has promised to fast-track the release of Shs17 billion needed to complete renovation works on Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

Mrs Museveni on Tuesday inspected the works at the stadium and has been told the renovations are now 86 percent complete - pending installation of floodlights, finishing the running track, among others.

Namboole is the only national stadium in the country of international standards. Nakivubo, which was the other such facility, has been undergoing redevelopment over the years and is nearing completion although it will art-turf.

The commander of UPDF Engineering Brigade, Brig Gen Cyrus Bekunda told the First Lady that the delayed handover of the stadium is due to lack of funds.

The UPDF Engineering Brigade are the project contractors.

During the inspection, the State minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang, revealed that officials from Confederation of African Football will be in the country on Match 25 to check the readiness of the stadium to host international matches.

Some of the unfinished utilities like floodlights, public address system, the scoreboard, among others, are some of the things CAF considers before approving the stadium to host international matches

"CAF is doing it's job. They will be here ticking boxes to make sure that all these are finished," Mrs Museveni. "If they are not ready, then they don't approve the stadium but give you time to work on them."

The contractors said of the Shs17.76 billion required to complete the works,  Shs5.8 billion is for supply, installation and commissioning of floodlights, Shs4.18 billion for supply, installation and commissioning of public address system, while Shs8 billion will cater for finishing athletics tracks.

"Failure to release funds has caused a set back in the works and therefore some things can't be completed," Gen Bekunda said.

For now, the stadium has been fitted with playing pitch, the training pitch, seats, four dressing rooms, 32 areas of convenience among others.

Mrs Museveni promised to make sure these are given the needed funds to complete the stadium.

"I'll make sure the ministry of fine releases the money. We asked for it in the supplementary budget and some has been released but not the Shs17 billion," the minister said.

The target is to hand over the stadium early next month.

A total of Shs97.9 billion has been spent on the renovation of the stadium. The initial completion date was for November last year.

After Namboole wasted away until it could no longer pass the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards test - let alone FIFA's - the government moved to refurbish the facility.

The need to reboot Namboole became even more crucial when Uganda jointly won the hosting rights to the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations alongside Kenya and Tanzania last September.

Uganda has recently been forced to host its international matches away from home after the other facility that previously bailed the national teams, St Mary's Stadium-Kitende, was disqualified for lack of adequate standard.

Uganda needs at least three stadiums to host the Afcon under the Pamoja bid.

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