By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Renovation of the Independence Stadium in Bakau has begun. This development came 11 months after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned the facility from hosting any of its sanctioned matches.
“Over the months, we have been given a deadline which was September and it is important to shed light on that. Because people have always asked questions. If the renovation works progress as expected the Scorpions might host its next qualifiers against Mali in March 2023 in The Gambia,” Hon. Bakary Y. Badjie, the Minister of Youths and Sports said in a statement.
Hon. Badjie disclosed that since the ban on the stadium took effect, the government through his ministry has been working tirelessly to make sure that they get what is needed which includes funds, the right people, and the right companies to do the job.
Hon. Badjie further stated that the Gambia government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports under his leadership is committed to renovating and remodeling the Independence Stadium.
In February 2022, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned the Independence stadium from hosting football matches for the Senior National until it meets the recommended CAF standards.
CAF in a letter stated that the Independence stadium is old and outdated and that most of the existing facilities lack multiple CAF stadium requirements.
The Confederation of African Football said the Gambia must meet the following standards to enable the country to host home matches. They are:
1. Re-grassing of the football ground
2. Modern substitute benches
3. Flood lights with 1200 lux and a standby generator for evening matches
4. Complete renovation and expansion of the dressing rooms
5. Modern first aid and treatment facilities for players and officials
6. Seats for individual spectators;
7. Equipped media facilities
8. Training facilities
The decision forced the Gambia to host its home matches on foreign soil when the Gambia played its home game against South Sudan at the Stade Latdior Thies, Senegal