The Ministries of Education and Sports as well as Works & Transport will join hands to renovate and upgrade the gigantic Mandela National Stadium at the famous Namboole hill in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District.
This was revealed by the Minister of Education and Sports, also the first lady Janet Kataha Museveni on Wednesday, 13th May 2020.
In a speech read for her by the State Minister in charge of sports Hamson Denis Obua during a media interface at Mandela National Stadium, Kataha retaliated the Government of Uganda’s mandate to promote sports in the country.
Obua was flanked by several officials as the stadium manager Hajji Jamil Ssewanyana, FUFA President Moses Magogo, CEO Edgar Watson, Rosette Lubwama Kebba (from ministry of finance and the vice chairperson of the Mandela Stadium Board), the National Council of Sports (NCS) chairperson Donald Rukare and General Secretary Patrick Bernard Ogwel, David Ssemakula Katende and many others.
“Government will embark on the plan to renovate and upgrade Mandela National Stadium at Namboole to internationally acceptable standards in a phased manner starting with the Needs Assessment” Kataha remarked.
The planned phases started with the consultations, discussions and agreements with the Ministry of Education and Sports, Needs Assessments to come up with the bills of quantities (cost implication) in line with the public Act standing orders under the Ministry of Works and Transport, the approval by the Parliament of Uganda before the execution of the renovation.
Kataha reaffirmed the enormous value that the Government attaches to this facility which seats on a vast 120 hectares of land.
“The Government of Uganda attaches great importance to this National Asset and recognizes Mandela National Stadium’s role in the development of Sports in the country. Indeed the Stadium is “Home” to the National Teams and Athletes. The Ministry applauds all the sports men and women, sports associations and fans. We shall continue to monitor the developments in the sports sub sector and provide the necessary support. I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Government Agencies, partners and individuals to the Ministry” she added.
The development to renovate and upgrade Mandela National Stadium comes at a time when Confederation of Africa Football Association (CAF) recently released a report that the 35,000 seater facility cannot host any international matches.
Ssewanyana who later took the officials and media on a guided tour around the Stadium noted that the stadium has four priority areas that they will address urgently if FUFA is to host any international games.
The key areas which the CAF report pointed at included the playing surface, dressing rooms, media tribune and the stadium lighting system.
“The key priority areas at the moment are the playing surface, dressing rooms, media tribune and the stadium lights. They must be sorted first before another inspection for the Mandela National Stadium to host international matches for CAF and FIFA” Ssewanyana disclosed.
In his brief submission, Magogo cried aloud for quick intervention to have the stadium renovated because Namboole is the venue of history making for Uganda Cranes.
“Let us all work in synergy for the renovation of Mandela National Stadium, Namboole. It is the divine home for Uganda Cranes where many African giants have crumbled. Uganda Cranes are history makers at Namboole” Magogo, also a CAF Executive Committee noted.
Magogo also clarified about the CAF report that passed St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende as fit for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers and not the FIFA World Cup matches.
Mandela National Stadium is a multifaceted facility that has the ability to host several games as football, rugby, netball, athletics, handball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis and others.
This stadium was officially in 1997 but most facilities are underutilized, others lay in dilapidated state, hundreds of hectares of the stadium’s land has been encroached and the main hotel facility is also idle and deserted.
The most worrying aspect Mandela National Stadium is the prolonged absence of the original land title and the alleged debtors accumulated from the different users of this facility.