SKD Not Ready to Host Int’l Matches

“We have communicated to CAF so that we can avoid embarrassment and to be hopeful that in November, as per the feedback we got from the Ministry of Sports that the facility will be ready to host our two home matches.”- Mustapha Raji, President-LFA  

The Liberia Football Association is concluding talks with its Ghanaian counterparts for the Lone Star’s next home match against Cape Verde to be played in Ghana next month. The Lone Star is scheduled to host the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in their third match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers between October 6-8, before traveling to Cape Verde for the return leg. 

According to LFA President Mustapha Raji, the football association has informed FIFA and CAF that the SKD playing pitch is still not yet conducive for hosting matches. This comes following consultation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports that has been working for the past weeks to improve the condition of the playing pitch.

CAF’s stadium inspector, Emmanuel Dasoberi, was due to arrive in the country over the weekend to conduct an assessment of the playing pitch and other sectors of the stadium, but LFA requested the continental football governing body to cancel the inspection visit after receiving feedback from the Sports Ministry.

“We had a meeting with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the current condition of the SKD playing pitch shows that it will still not be playable in October for the match against Cape Verde, so we have communicated to CAF so that we can avoid embarrassment and to be hopeful that in November, as per the feedback we got from the Ministry of Sports, that the facility will be ready to host our two home matches against Nigeria and the Central African Republic,” LFA President Mustapha Raji said.

The SKD stadium has been in the news for the wrong reasons since May of this year after it was banned from hosting international matches because it does not meet the minimum stadium requirements.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports has been working against time to improve the condition of the stadium with the completion of some works including the reconditioning of the dressing rooms with the installation of seating, hot and cold water faucets showers in the bathrooms, the fixing of the referees’ room, anti-doping room, fire control room, venue operating system control room, and the medical room, among others. However, the condition of the playing pitch remains the major hindrance to Liberians having the opportunity to watch their national team home games at the SKD.

Will the SKD be Ready by November?

Following the Lone Star’s 1-0 win against the Central African Republic (CAR), President George Weah instructed the Ministry of Youth and Sports to work with the Liberia Football Association and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the SKD meets all the required standards in order to avoid the country’s next home games being played away, but things are not going as expected under the footballing president.

Authorities from the Sports Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, commenced work on the playing pitch in late June with the hope of the SKD hosting Liberia’s home matches in October. Unfortunately, CAF, after conducting a spot-check by its Club Licensing Senior Manager Muhammad F. Sidat, “noted a setback in the progress made on the quality of the pitch, which occurred in recent weeks.”

With the current condition of the playing pitch, it is doubtful that the pitch will be playable in November for the Lone Star to host their two home matches against Nigeria and CAR.