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: Baboucarr Fallaboweh, TAT Sports Editor 

Most stadiums that were handed a banned, including the Independence stadium, have started their renovation.

It has been one month since the minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Badjie, announced that the stadium will undergo a holistic renovation.

The Gambia’s last match at the independence stadium was in 2021 against Angola; four games have been played since the ban, with Marrakech hosting three. Hawks FC had to withdraw from the CAF preliminary rounds against Guinean side Horoya Athletic because they could not afford the expenses of playing two matches outside the Gambia.

Most football stakeholders voted for continuity, but the mini stadiums across the country leave much to desire, with only the Bakau mini stadium looking standard. Moreover, the Nawettans will expose our fields, making it impossible for the league to start, as when they even begin, it injures many of our players.

Morocco hosted nine African countries, including the Senegal U17 and U23, with the latter winning against the Olympic team twice in the concluded September FIFA international match window.

Reaching the AFCON will only be celebrated if we repeat the same feat. If we want to be part of the big boys, we must like them. Despite being world cup-bound, Senegal and Ghana all had inspiring friendlies in France.
The Gambia had a quiet window, and the results will just see the scorpions moving within their position in the FIFA ranking both in the world and Africa.

Niger, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Comoros played in the window. Failing to honor the FIFA calendars will relegate us to the preliminary round for the Nations cup and world cup qualifiers which will incur more expenses on the Government and the Federation.

We may have a WAFU A president, but the Mauritania FA president’s vision and rapid development cannot be under notice in the region.

The WAFU U20 competition was held in Mauritanian, and the qualifiers for the road to Egypt were played there. All these are signs that they are on the right track; even their youth setup from U15 to U20 is very recommendable.

The caption that followed the images from Morocco, fully sponsored by the Federation, wasn’t necessary. However, not all free is comfortable. The Federation only pays air tickets, match allowances, and bonuses, but the Moroccan FA has catered for the rest.

Morocco hosted the Women’s Nation Cup in July, and CAF has given them the hosting right for the CAF Women’s Champions League because they have the infrastructure.

We can live in past glories. We can’t celebrate mediocrity with all the FIFA funds pumped into our football. The least the Gambian fans deserved was a better Stadium and playing grounds.

The said two million dollars for the stadium renovation has raised an eyebrow. Sierra Leone’s renovation cost 40 million dollars, and it was renovated by the same Chinese that built the independent stadium.
None of our local contractors has built a stadium before.

Therefore, you must be very knowledgeable about the stadium because it has some delicate components. The long-term plan is to invest in a 30/40 million dollar stadium, even if it will be a 15 000 mini stadium than playing from home.

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