The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Annet Among has tasked the State Minister for Sports Peter Ogwang to provide accountability for the 97 billion shillings spent on renovations of Mandela National Stadium- Namboole.

Among issued the directive during the plenary after the Opposition Chief Whip John Baptist Nambeshe read the CAF inspection recent report which indicated that Namboole’s current renovation works are below the required standard and subsequently were not approved for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers late in June.

According to the report from the CAF Inspectors that Nambeshe read, the stadium had unfinished areas of the exterior and interior. “Based on the pre-inspection it is noted that the works in several areas of the exterior and interior zones of the stadium are still in progress and not yet complete, and according to Caf stadium approval procedures”, reads part of the report.    

“An approval is only given when the stadium is compliant with the requirement at the time of the inspection which is not the case at the time, which is not the case for Mandela National Stadium, caf is not therefore in a position to grant an additional period for the completion of the works.” Reads another report.   

Uganda may now have to host its next two FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Botswana and Algeria away from home, contrary to Ogwang’s earlier assurance that games would be played at a refurbished Namboole.  

Jonathan Odur, the Member of Parliament for Erute County (South) said that the government needs to ensure that the stadium would be ready by December this year since Namboole is a prerequisite for hoisting CHAN.  

In addition, the Speaker also noted that she was aware that Morocco had already given Uganda the chance to host its World Cup qualifiers if Uganda couldn’t host its games domestically, but she expressed concern that this would demoralize Ugandan supporters who had anticipated supporting their team at home.  

“Let him give us a statement on the status of Namboole and give us accountability for the 97 billion shillings that was released for that work.” Speaker said.

In response, the Government Chief Whip Hamson Obua said that the Minister was holding a meeting with the UPDF Engineering brigade which is in charge of renovating Namboole but pledged to inform the Minister to present the report on Friday.  

This is the latest dispute involving the Uganda Cranes and their long-standing hurdle of hosting Its home games away from home. First, Uganda Cranes was compelled to host Tanzania at the Suez Canal Authority Stadium in Egypt after St. Mary’s stadium Kitende which had been Uganda Cranes home ground since 2021 failed the CAF requirements to host the Uganda Cranes’ matches.  

Also, in June 2023 when Namboole renovation had taken one and half years, Uganda Cranes was once again compelled to host its African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying match against Algeria in Cameroon after Fufa inspected the Mandela National Stadium and confirmed that it is not yet ready to host the qualifiers.

This particular decision forced Minister Ogwang to apologize to the country since he had earlier on March 29, 2023, assured Ugandan football fans that the Cranes’ next home game would be hosted at Mandela National Stadium.   

Uganda Cranes has been homeless since March this year, after St. Mary’s Stadium Kitende, which was Uganda Cranes’ home ground for two years since CAF blacklisted Mandela National Stadium in 2020, also failed to meet the CAF requirements to host the Uganda Cranes’ matches.

The Continental Soccer Governing body found the pitch, toilets, pavilion, and dressing rooms at the Mandela Stadium in an appalling state, hence declaring it unfit to host any continental and international match and recommending an overhaul which the government initiated in February 2022, with the contract given to the UPDF Engineering Brigade.

Although Uganda Cranes had found solace in St Mary’s stadium Kitende which is privately owned by Lawrence Mulindwa, CAF also disqualified it in 2021 citing issues of safety and security control, among others.


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