Upgrade of Independence Stadium to commence

By Michael Uugwanga

THE upgrading of the dilapidated Independence Stadium in the capital is set to commence after the arena has not been used for football activities due to weeds on the pitch, which prompted the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service (MSYNS) to stop the stadium from hosting the popular sport.

Athletics is the only sport that is being hosted at the Independence Stadium currently.

Confidente Sport is reliably informed that the upgrading of the pitch alone will cost the ministry around N$200 000, while the revamping of the entire stadium could cost around N$3 million; although the MSYNS has said that it cannot determine at this stage how much it will cost totally.

The upgrading of the stadium could also see football returning to the country’s biggest and oldest sports stadium that used to be the home of the Brave Warriors, who for the first time in their history will be playing their international matches outside the country after both the Independence Stadium and Sam Nujoma Stadium were declared unfit to host international matches such as World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) matches for both men and women, by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The Sam Nujoma Stadium belongs to the City of Windhoek that is also in the process of upgrading the stadium to the tune of N$20 million.

The Brave Warriors were due to play their home match against Congo-Brazzaville in their opening FIFA World Cup match outside Namibia however the Africa World Cup qualifiers were postponed to September this year due to the current challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need to ensure optimal playing conditions for all the players.

Responding to questions from Confidente Sport MSYNS executive director, Dr Audrin Mathe said that the process of upgrading the stadium had already started.

“The ministry has commenced with the process of upgrading the Independence Stadium. We have started with the review of the CAF report on the stadium and we are also looking at various possible ways to finance the upgrading project. Currently, given the technical nature of the CAF report, as well as the need to merge some FIFA requirements of stadium specifications into the total envisaged upgrade, the total cost of the project is yet to be finalised. Also, the expectations are that a sizeable amount will be needed to finance the upgrading, thus our current initiative to already start with the process of identifying potential funding partners.”

Mathe also said that they are yet to award the job to a suitable company.

“We are not yet at the stage of awarding the tender. When we get to that stage, the ministry will adhere to the relevant procurement regulations as prescribed by law.”

MSYNS continues to receive little funding from the state coffers, a sign that sport is still not prioritised.