Inspection Reveals Gambia Not Yet Ready To Host Congo In Sept. Afcon Qualifier

The renovated Independence Stadium

After his preliminary inspection of the Independence Stadium, which is currently being renovated, CAF field inspector Muhammad F. Sidat said the Independence Stadium still needs to meet CAF standards.

However, Bakary Y. Badjie, the Gambia’s Sports Minister, Says the stadium is close to meeting the requirements and will use the coming weeks to ensure the Scorpions play home against Congo in September.

The Gambia’s only football stadium is deemed unfit to host International games. In the past three months, the government of the Gambia, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has begun renovating the stadium.

On Saturday, July 15, Muhammad F. Sidat, a CAF official, was at the independence stadium for a preliminary inspection to determine if the Gambia can host Congo in the September AFCON qualifies.

Muhammad F. Sidat, a CAF official

Speaking to the press, Sidat revealed that the stadium still needs to be ready to host CAF-organized games.

” The stadium now is far from being ready. We mentioned several points to the contractors, and they understood. CAF will not even approve the stadium if the roads outside the stadium that lead to the stadium are bad,” he told the press after his inspection.

However, the Minister of Youth & Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie, after his closed-door meeting with Sidat, told the waiting journalists that the stadium is closer to having the requirements. He expressed hope that the country will get approval from CAF because they will work on the recommendations made by the field inspector.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to play here in September. But that is a decision that CAF is the only authority to make. Our responsibility as authorities is to go by the guide and do what is expected from us,” Minister Badjie noted.

Bakary Badjie

He said, taking from Muhammad Sidat, he will take up with the contractors to use the weeks coming before the final inspection in August to meet the requirements.

“Moving forward, we will be using the coming weeks to try to improve in the areas he observed and recommended, alongside completing what has been started. Some observations were never part of the job that he had done. But we have taken note of that, and we will work on those as well,” he explained.

The Independence Stadium in Bakau has new seats and renovated toilets and dressing rooms. The CAF field inspector, however, recommended to the ministry and Gambia Football Federation to look at the outside view of the stadium, the tunnel at the dressing room, and the media section.


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