Independence Stadium in Bakau, The country's only Stadium which has been referred to both by CAF and FIFA as unfit to host matches

By: Babucarr Fallaboweh

The Bakau independence stadium was among 22 stadiums banned across Africa by CAF for failing to meet international standards.

Following its closure on 1st September, the Minister of Youths and Sports Bakary Badjie said in a radio interview with Ronald Senghore that international football would return to Bakau as funds were being secured for rehabilitating the main Stadium.

Bakary Badjie, Minister of Youth and Sports

“Sometimes you inherit good and bad problems, but I won’t blame anyone because now it’s our responsibility. Although the notification of improving the Stadium to the standard level first came in 2012, we did small until we could play a few games before going to Lat Dior stadium. It’s a project that the Gambians need.” Badjie indicated.

“We have secured the funds, 100 million dalasis, and two contractors are assigned for the job, and the Ministry of Works, GameWorks, and my ministry supervised the project. After the assessment, it took us time. We wanted comprehensive work by remodeling the Stadium. (All CAF recommendations) and in the next six months, it will be ready for use. It’s unfortunate with our kind of contractors in this country; we look at their track records and previous jobs completed with certification. Even the government is going to court with some of them regarding the mini Stadium we intended to build.”

“Sports cannot go without infrastructure. There are few venues for sport across the country; It’s a challenge. If we push together, we can have an increment of the D104 million allocated for my ministry. Sometimes, Sports are not a priority to many, even at the government level. Therefore we need the media to push this. We have heard the outcry of the public for a new stadium. We have discussed it with the president, and the intention is there; we are committed to it, and it will cost us nothing less than €150 million. We probably need a loan or some partners to fulfill such a dream.”He added

The minister further went on to say after the maintenance of the Stadium, some changes will affect regular users of the Stadium since money generated from the tower, whether big or small, will be utilized to renovate it.

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