By Buba Gagigo and Landing Ceesay
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned Gambia’s Independence Stadium for not meeting the ‘required standard’ to host CAF A Type competition.
“CAF has decided to ban the Independence Stadium for failure to meet the required standard to host CAF A Type competition in a letter dated 16th February 2022. As such, our (Scorpions) match against Chad scheduled on the 29th March 2022 for the preliminary round qualifiers of the Africa cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 will not be hosted in the Stadium,” Independence Stadium and Friendship Hotel said in a statement on Facebook yesterday.
The statement said CAF is requesting, among others: re-grassing of the football ground; building of modern substitute benches; floodlights with 1200 lux and a standby generator for evening matches; complete renovation and expansion of the dressing rooms; modern first aid and treatment facilities for players and officials; seats for individual spectators; as well as equipped media facilities and training facilities.
It added that the stadium is old and outdated in most of the existing facilities and lacks multiple CAF stadium requirements.
“The stadium have been reporting on the state of the stadium since 2012 as there has never been any major maintenance and rehabilitation of the facilities since it was built in 1983. In this vein, there is need for massive investment to meet the required standard by CAF which the Ministry must facilitate and provide before the commencement of the group stage qualifiers in June 2022 to enable our home matches to be hosted at the stadium
“The Stadium since 2019 has informed the authorities of the Must Have CAF requirements of a stadium which must be in place for hosting the senior national teams matches. Even though the renovations and maintenance has started and we were able to get temporal approval for the use of the stadium during the AFCON qualifiers for Cameroon 2021,” Independence Stadium and Friendship Hotel statement concluded.
The ban on the Independence Stadium by CAF means the Scorpions’ match against Chad scheduled on 29 March 2022 for the preliminary round qualifiers of the Africa cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 would not be played at the Stadium.
However, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF), on the 18th February, said the Queen Scorpions would host the return leg of the 2022 Total Energies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the Independence Stadium on 23rd February, 2022, at 16:00 GMT; after their 8-0 away lost to the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon at the Stade Omnisports Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé on Friday afternoon; in the first leg of the Morocco edition of the competition.
The GFF statement added that the 23rd February, 2022 match would be played behind closed doors due to the current COVID-19 Protocols and requirements of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).