The Ministry of Youth and Sports is relocating from the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville to 19th Street Sinkor due to the impending renovation of the Complex.
The ministry, which has been occupying the SKD Sports Complex for nearly nine years, is expected to move by Saturday, June 21, 2014, according to its Press and Public Affairs Department.
The repair work at the Complex is set at the cost of US$16 million agreement signed between the Liberian government and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in July-2013.
The senior engineer and chief of Chinese technical team, Mr. Yi Xuebo said, “the renovation is duly authorized by the PRC government and it is a Chinese fully funded project.”
Engineer Yi said, “the US$16 million is temporary because it could be a bit higher during the actual construction period.”
He named areas to be renovated as the playing pitch, track, tennis court, scoreboard, practice pitch and around the field.
Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe said a comprehensive renovation will lead to the restoration of the SKD Sports Complex.
The renovation is expected to last for about two years.
Earlier, the formal agreement, known as the Letter of Exchange Notes, was signed between Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan and Chinese Ambassador, Zhao Jianhua.
Ambassador Zhao said the renovation of the Complex is the PRC’s first ever project and assured Liberians of a brand new complex.
He added that the Complex is a manifestation of the Chinese friendship towards the Government and People of Liberia.
Foreign Minister Ngafuan described the project as a continuation of a “Good Partnership.”
“You have entered a terrain that is very close to a lot of Liberians…sports, which they call (here) the passion of life,” he said, “sports is not just for recreation but also for reconciliation which is also good for progress.”
The Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex is a multi-purpose stadium built in 1986. The decade’s civil war destroyed the 35,000 capacity’s Complex.
In September 2005 a US$7.6 million renovation began and completed two years later was done by Hunan Constructing Engineering Group Corporation.
Meanwhile, as the result of the Complex impending closure the National County Meet will be held at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.
However, the shutting down of the tennis court would not affect the over 600 youths that are involved in the game, because the Liberia Tennis Federation (LTF) has been experiencing leadership crisis for about 18 months.
LTF Secretary General John P. Dexter and Acting President, Houssein Cheaitou have been tussling over the leadership of the federation to the detriment of the sport.