CAF will conduct another inspection on the SKD Sports Stadium between September 12 and 13 ahead of Match Day 3 & 4 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the Liberia Football Association (LFA) has revealed.
This comes after CAF, in a communication dated August 23 but sent on August 24, banned the SKD from hosting international matches, noting that “A setback in the progress made on the quality of the pitch, which occurred in recent weeks.
LFA in a release issued on Thursday said CAF’s stadium Instructor, Emmanuel N. Dasoberi, will arrive in Liberia this weekend to review works that have been done at the national stadium then provide recommendations to CAF as to whether the SKD meets “stadium compliance status|'' to host Liberia's home match against Cape Verde next month.
The next rounds of qualifiers for the World Cup will take place from 6-10 October. CAF has informed the LFA that the inspection visit is to do an “Independent Stadium Re-inspection visit” to reassess the status of the SKD. This will be the fourth time CAF will be inspecting the SKD in three months with the same Stadium Inspector, Dasoberi leading the inspection mission.
Not Too Early to Inspect?
With Liberia’s home game against Cape Verde slated for October, one may be wondering whether it is not too early for the African football governing body to conduct an inspection of the stadium. It may be recalled that the SKD was banned at the eleventh hour to host Liberia vs. Central African Republic qualifiers match weeks after the stadium received a commendation from CAF that “tremendous works had been done and that the stadium was granted a match approval.”
Although the stadium was inspected twice by CAF’s inspector Dasoberi before it was granted a one-match approval, CAF, after conducting a spot check through its Club Licensing Senior Manager Muhammad F. Sidat, a few weeks into the game, told journalists that it was too early to say that the SKD will be approved as there are lots of works that need to be done.
“At this present time, it's not to say if the stadium is approved or not. It’s basically a further assessment of what has been done before. We will communicate again at the appropriate time in a timely manner again with the LFA through the competent channels. There is work still ongoing so we can’t just say it’s not compliant or is compliant because work is ongoing. We commend the authorities for that. But yes, there are areas that we’ve seen that still need big improvement and all of this will be reported to our CAF Stadium Inspection Report. We will once again communicate with the LFA and surely the LFA will share with the stadium authorities.”
According to the Liberia football house, if Mr. Dasoberi is satisfied with the works done per CAF minimum stadium requirements criteria during next week’s inspection, then “SKD will be granted clearance to host Liberia home matches going forward in the competition.”
It is still unclear whether CAF will conduct another inspection in a few weeks or days to the game. Lone Star is currently second in Group C three points behind the Super Eagles and will host Cape Verde in October before welcoming Nigeria and CAR for return legs in November and December respectively.