Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda has said that plans to fix the “unstable” Sam Nujoma Stadium are underway as he is “uncomfortable” with the continued use of the arena.
Despite Caf blacklisting the stadium last week, stating that structural shortcomings made it unfit to host international football matches, domestic football matches are still held at the facility.
Caf’s declaration rendered the country’s national teams homeless as the 10 000-seater Sam Nujoma Stadium was the only facility provisionally cleared to host international matches in the country.
This means Namibia will have to play its home matches abroad until such time they have a venue that satisfies Fifa’s standards.
According to multiple reports, staging matches on foreign soil is near impossible for the cash-strapped Namibia Football Association (NFA), which was fined US$6 000 (about R$85 500) for playing the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Guinea at the prohibited arena last month.
Amupanda said the City of Windhoek is looking at refurbishing the stadium when he inspected the worn venue most recently.
“If the stadium is unstable as you say, then I’m not comfortable that we keep it open. If it can’t host international matches, then it is also not of good standard for our local games,” he said as quoted by TheNamibian.com.
“If something bad happens, we will all be liable as this stadium belongs to us. We must attend to it.”
In the meantime, Amupanda said the municipality will look for alternative venues to accommodate club matches.
“We must identify five stadiums that the clubs can make use of. We need to ease the burden on this stadium, because even if we upgrade it, the load will be too much, and we’ll be in the same situation a few years from now,” added Amupanda.
The council will hold urgent talks with the government, the NFA, and other stakeholders over the renovation of the facility.
TheNambian.com reported that the most pressing changes needed at Sam Nujoma Stadium are fixed seats on all stands, a new playing surface with a drainage system, reinforcing the unsteady double-story main stand; as well as extending and upgrading the VIP perimeter to improve security.
“We must be clear that, while we respect standards and best practices, we are not doing this for Fifa. It’s not about Fifa or NFA. We are doing it for us.”
The city will compile a feasibility report on the status of the stadium before the project can commence.
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By FARPost Reporter