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Namboole NOT Ready, Uganda To Host Algeria In Cameroon

Mandela National Stadium will not host Uganda Cranes’ 2023 AFCON Qualifiers against Algeria.

FUFA has confirmed the developments, adding that the match due June, will be held in Cameroon instead.

This is contrary to an earlier statement from State Minister for Sports Hon Peter Ogwang that Namboole will be ready by set deadline.

The deadline for all Federations to submit venues to host Qualifiers is due today (Tuesday, April 25).

Ogwang and FUFA President Moses Magogo inspected Namboole on Monday.

FUFA has described the work as “very slow and insensitive to cries of the public” to be able to host the matches in Uganda.

Magogo said: “I call upon the relevant Government authorities to urgently cancel the contracts of the Contractors and supervisors and immediately procure experienced service providers in the stadium construction even if it means being obtained from outside Uganda.

“The Country is likely to have a delayed project, substandard work and without value for money.”

The State of Namboole

The stadium, named after Former South African President Nelson Mandela, was built with a grant of $36m from China government and opened in 1997.

It went under refurbishment in 2010 and was the venue as Uganda Cranes booked back to back tickets to Africa Cup of Nations.

In 2020, the dilapidated stadium was put out of use as it was turned into a Covid-19 Isolation centre.

Refurbishment of the stadium got underway in February 2022, estimated to cost Sh97bn.

The renovations are catering for floodlights, dressing rooms, playing surface, Seats and running track among others.

Uganda Cranes has since hosted international games at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende, owned by Vipers president Lawrence Mulindwa.

Uganda’s recent home game against Tanzania was hosted in Egypt after CAF upped the Standards, and Kitende was at the wrong end.

But Hon. Peter Ogwang, after visiting Namboole, later vowed that the facility will be ready for June’s match against Algeria.

However, earlier this month, Ogwang told Parliament that the renovation of Namboole has been affected by delays in the release of funds.

Ogwang said whereas Parliament approved the budget in the 2021/2022 financial year, the money was released late.

“Parliament appropriated Shs31billion and a supplementary funding of Shs62 billion in the 2021/2022 financial year for the construction of a boundary wall, renovation and upgrade but the stadium received funds in July 2022,” Ogwang said as quoted by Parliament press.

Ogwang said that as a result, only 32% of civil works has been completed by the UPDF engineering Brigade.

Huge Blow For Cranes

Group F Table

  1. Algeria 🇩🇿(Q) – 12pts
  2. Uganda 🇺🇬 – 4
  3. Tanzania 🇹🇿 – 4
  4. Niger 🇳🇪 – 2

The Cranes moved joint second, level on four Points and similar goal difference with the Tanzania in Group F where Algeria already booked a ticket to AFCON.

Uganda Cranes host Algeria before facing Niger in their last Group game.

With Niger still very much in the equation, the match against Algeria is surely a MUST win for the Cranes if they are to return to AFCON.

And a win looked like it was within reach if the Cranes were playing at a fully packed Namboole.

But playing Algeria, an African powerhouse, away from home, will prove a huge mountain to climb for the Cranes.

The Cranes have collected just a point in their two ‘home’ games in this group – a draw against Niger (Kitende) and a 1-0 loss against Tanzania (Egypt).

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