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GAMBIA: GOVERNMENT DOES NOT HAVE MONEY TO BUILD A NEW STADIUM – BAKARY BADJIE

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“As a government, building a new national stadium is something we have been looking at. We have looked at different options. We have the land and a plan for a 30, 000 capacity stadium but the financing is the bigger thing.”

He added that all the stadiums built and opened in Africa cost between 150 and 230 millions dollars which is about D13 billion dalasi. “That is how expensive building a new stadium is.”

“The Senegalese new stadium cost €250 million. The two stadiums Morocco are building as they bid to host the 2026 AFCON tournament, each cost $200 million. Cameroon also built one of their stadiums through China as they were preparing for the AFCON tournament at a cost $150 million. These are the ranges depending on the capacity you want,” he explained.

He continued. “Even if we say The Gambia wants to go for a smaller stadium of 25, 000 to 30, 000 capacity, it will cost us more than $100 million which is about D6 billion dalasi. We do not have that kind of money.”

According to him, they are looking at options to secure financing, adding that negotiations are ongoing and they are hopeful as some investors are expected in the country to discuss issues around infrastructure.

“A new stadium is already captured in the discussion as one of the infrastructures the country needs. We will see what happens depending on the outcome of those discussions.”

He disclosed that one of the companies contracted for the renovation of the Independence Stadium has also submitted a proposal for the expansion of the current capacity of the stadium as well as building a new stadium.

“These are ongoing discussions but the commitment and political will from government is there.”

The sports minister admitted that it is a reality that The Gambia needs a new stadium but stated that due to the current economic situation of the country, it is difficult.

He acknowledged that President Adama Barrow building a new stadium for the country will be a legacy for him.

He pointed out that “when something becomes a necessity, it is no longer about luxury but is one thing to get because that is what is best for the country and for the sports sector, especially football.”

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