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Minister of Youth & Sports Conducts Site Inspection at Independence Stadium

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Bakary Badjie, Minister of Youth and Sports

By Ramatoulie Jawo

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Bakary Y. Badjie, undertook a site visit to the Independence Stadium on Monday to assess the progress of the second phase of its renovation.

The ongoing work at the stadium displayed promising advancements in its remodeling and refurbishment endeavors.

The purpose of the Minister’s visit was to gain firsthand insights into the status of the stadium’s facilities. Accompanied by Mr. Ebou Faye, the General Manager of the Stadium, Hon. Badjie embarked on a comprehensive tour of the areas currently undergoing renovation.

Following the tour, the Minister reiterated that the recent inspection by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was initiated by the Ministry to showcase their efforts and seek feedback on meeting CAF standards.

“I want to take this opportunity to reiterate that CAF’s visit the last time wasn’t a CAF-initiated activity; it was a ministry-initiated activity based on what we were doing, and our intention for them to come and look at what our plan and advise us on whether it was good enough to meet CAF’s standard or not,” Hon. Badjie said. 

He outlined the enhancements of the second phase, including additional parking spaces, the installation of a standard scoreboard, the provision of a dedicated press area, and the incorporation of restroom facilities in all four pavilions.

“The second phase, as you all show, includes some demolitions like you would see with the media center, the media Tribune and the press conference center which is a big issue for CAF. The area that is reserved on the democracy as we call it is going to occupy about 50 seats of journalists. Those seats are coming along with desks and plugs and other internet access for the media,” Hon. Badjie said. 

Acknowledging funding challenges that delayed progress, the Minister assured that work was underway and disclosed plans for a third phase to address further requirements.

“The late as it might be, we all know what the problem was an issue of funding. But eventually, we were able to get the funds and now we have started the work. We look forward to its successful completion and for us to host our matches. Of course, there will be a third phase. Let me say that because again one thing Mr. Faye said earlier, the stadium was built in the 80s and from that time to now is 40 years.

“ A lot has changed in football, that we all know. So the fact that the stadium has not undergone any major renovation, it requires a lot of changes. But these are expensive capital projects that government cannot fund from the beginning to all the way. So what we did is to put them in phases,” Hon. Badjie emphasized. 

Hon. Badjie highlighted the financial aspects of the project, revealing an initial budget of D160 million, with D130 million already expended. The second phase is budgeted at D153 million, totaling D280 million, with plans for further investment in subsequent phases.

“As we said earlier, the initial budget was D160 million. We spent about D130 million, now the second phase is D153 million. So if you add D153 million plus D130 million, it gives you D280 million. In fact, the third phase is even more expensive which includes the tracks and the floodlights, the secondary phase out there. But the Ministry of Work is the one that’s sincerely running the project. Because it is the government body responsible for works, and they are the ones that do the assessments,” Hon. Badjie disclosed. 

He underscored the involvement of the Ministry of Works in overseeing the project, collaborating with contractors and a technical committee to ensure effective management and supervision.

Since the ban on the stadium took effect, he emphasized that the government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, 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 renovations and remodeling of the stadium.

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