CAF Puts on Hold its Decision to Ban SKD Stadium

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CAF's decision follows ongoing discussions with representatives of the Liberia Football Association (LFA)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Monday put on hold its decision to ban the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Stadium from hosting matches of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

CAF’s decision follows ongoing discussions with representatives of the Liberia Football Association (LFA). In a communication to LFA’s Secretary-General Isaac Montgomery on Monday, May 3, CAF Deputy Secretary-General for Football and Development Anthony Baffoe said the SKD is not suspended until a further assessment is conducted by CAF.

“Upon conclusion of the said assessment and inspection, CAF will decide on the approval of the stadium,” said Baffoe.

Earlier on Sunday, May 2, CAF informed the LFA that SKD Sports Stadium “doesn’t meet the set CAF stadium minimum requirements and consequently is not approved for the qualifying matches.” CAF’s decision to ban the SKD was based on a report which included video and photo evidence.

LFA was given up to May 7, to select a neutral and approved venue within CAF’s territories to host their “home matches.”

Both CAF and authorities of the LFA will now hold a video conference meeting on March 6, after which a decision will be reached on the fate of the SKD.

This latest development about the SKD comes just a few days before the visitation of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Dr. Patrice Motsepe to Liberia.

In 2020, The Ministry of Youth and Sports embarked on a series of works at the SKD after it was instructed and informed about an inspection visit by a team of inspectors from CAF.

Some of the works that were being implemented by the Ministry include the repair and maintenance of the dressing rooms, match officials’ rooms, and a media center.

According to the Ministry, the biggest challenge is the placement of bucket seats at the 35,000-seater facility.

Several stadiums across the African continent have been banned due to the poor state of the pitch and surrounding areas, the inconsistency of dressing rooms and match officials’ rooms, medical facilities, media or TV or broadcasting areas, training pitches, and, to a lesser extent, spectator area and VVIP or VIP lounges.

This latest development comes just a few weeks after Chief Patron of Sports George Weah said Liberia as the oldest independent African should be ashamed of not hosting the African Cup of Nations due to lack of sporting facilities.

“Everywhere they’re hosting African Cup, the only reason we can’t host it they will tell you we don’t have so many fields, we don’t have the facilities but I can assure you, we will continue to advocate and make sure the facilities are built in our country so that Liberia can host the African Cup one day so our flag can shine too,” said Weah. “I think it’s an injustice to the game after a country that produced a Ballon d’Or winner cannot host African games because they don’t have facilities is a shame. “Liberia we should be ashamed of ourselves and we should fight for Liberia to host that tournament.”

SKD Renovation

In 2017, the Chinese government completed renovation works at the SKD, valued at US$18 million. The renovation works included the refurbishing of the VIP, the playing pitch, lighting system, digital scoreboard as well as seating capacity around the field, and bathrooms among others, are said to have been improved. It also included a public address system, firefighting system, monitoring, and telephone system, and the installation of multiple surveillance cameras or CCTVs.

This was the second time that renovation works were carried out at the SKD. In September 2005, a U$7.6 million renovation was funded by China, completed in July 2007; and the stadium was officially turned over to the Liberian government as a special gift for its 160th independence anniversary.

This latest development comes just a few weeks after Chief Patron of Sports George Weah said Liberia as the oldest independent African should be ashamed of not hosting the African Cup of Nations due to lack of sporting facilities.

“Everywhere they’re hosting African Cup, the only reason we can’t host it they will tell you we don’t have so many fields, we don’t have the facilities but I can assure you, we will continue to advocate and make sure the facilities are built in our country so that Liberia can host the African Cup one day so our flag can shine too,” said Weah. “I think it’s an injustice to the game after a country that produced a Ballon d’Or winner cannot host African games because they don’t have facilities is a shame.

“Liberia we should be ashamed of ourselves and we should fight for Liberia to host that tournament.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Okay, Liberians are looking up to Weah to, “Talk the talk, but walk the walk.” I am glad he included the collective pronoun “we” in his criticisms. In other words instead of shifting the blame on someone for the country’s failure in maintaining the nation’s number one sporting facility (SKD), he included himself this time around.

    Truly speaking, just as many other aspects relating to national development in Liberia, Liberia has the talents and resources to even bring the word cup home. Nevertheless, this is nearly impossible because he is unable to create the environment, and become a catalyst for a burgeoning national sporting apparatus that could set the pace for this to happen.

    His inability by and large is derived from his extreme urge to divert the scanty national resources to his private schemes. This does not encourage the kind of dynamic improvement in sports, which he is talking about. His logic and actions often lay astride his pronouncements, and this causes the people to view him as not being a sincere and honest leader.

    No individual is flawless, and moreover flaws are not always of equal magnitude. People do have the propensity of accepting others even though they may know they are flawed. Nevertheless, the acceptance of others in the midst of their flaws are many times premised on the degree of the flaws and whether they are not as such that they become detrimental to their wellbeing or the general public.

    Relating to the latter statement. I agree Weah, like other past leaders, has flaws, but judging from the experiences ordinary Liberians have had with him for the past three years and continue to have with him, recent polls and election results suggest his impediments are deep and are inimical to the progress of the society; consequently, they have become some of the contributing factors to the extreme suspicions the public have of him now and which might likely lead to the chances of him not being re-elected.

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