The Gambia Independence Stadium has been once more declared unqualified’ to host international matches by the Confederation of African Football after a preliminary inspection done by Muhammad F. Sidat two weeks ago in Banjul.
In a press release, the Ministry of Youth and Sports announced that the country would not host the September Afcon qualifier game against Congo, dampening the expectations of many Gambians who are eager to watch the Scorpions play at home following a glimmer of hope from the renovation going on at the independence stadium.
After the preliminary inspection by Sidat on July 15, the Gambia Football Federation and the Ministry of Youth & Sports expressed hope. However, to their chagrin, the stadium is still deemed unfit to host games.
“To our utmost surprise, in CAF’s Preliminary Inspection Report dated July 21, 2023, it declared “the Independence Stadium unqualified to host our match.” Sequel to the receipt of the report, the Ministry of Youth & Sports sent a letter to CAF through the GFF, reminding them that Mr. Sidat’s visit was a preliminary inspection at our request and, therefore, a prelude to a proper decisive inspection. Notwithstanding our letter, CAF maintained its decision, leaving us with the only option of playing our match against Congo Brazzaville outside The Gambia”, MOYS says in a press release.
The release further detailed that the Gambia will not play a home game against Congo in Morocco after the Gambia Football Federation chose the North African nation over neighboring Senegal.
“In light of this unfortunate decision of CAF, the Ministry, after a meeting with GFF, explored the opportunity of playing in neighboring Senegal. However, the GFF had expressed preference and arranged for the match to be played in Morocco, citing technical and logistical reasons as the Head Coach. His Technical team recommended,” the release explained.