AFCON preps on right track

DODOMA: THE government has confirmed that the installation of stadiums and infrastructure for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations finals is on track and expected to be completed by 2025.

The government statement was made on Tuesday by Deputy Minister for Culture, Arts, and Sports, Hamis Mwinjuma, in response to Chumbuni MP Ussi Salum Pondeza’s inquiry. Pondeza inquired about the government’s investment in stadiums, coaches, and sports agents to help the country’s sports business.

The Deputy Minister highlighted five locations to be installed venues in Arusha, Dodoma, Zanzibar, Ilemela, and Malya College, explaining why these locations must be completed by 2025.

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According to him, the stadiums will be completed by next year to meet the CAF deadline. However, AFCON sites and infrastructures will be subject to regulatory scrutiny by CAF.

“According to the schedule and requirements, these stadiums are expected to be completed by the end of next year, in time for CAF’s regulatory inspection,” Mwinjuma noted.

As the pace to install new venues is on track, the government is renovating Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, and New Amaan Complex and Gombani Stadium in Zanzibar to host the 2024 CHAN and 2027 AFCON finals.

The renovations also include infrastructure improvements at 56 sports schools and five football fields owned by Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

To ensure the availability of sufficient sports coaches, Mwinjuma noted that the government has been increasing enrollment in institutions that provide sports teacher training, particularly the Malya Sports Development College and the University of Dar es Salaam. By the 2023/24 academic year, a total of 812 students had graduated from the Malya Sports Development College.

In line with the CAF Stadium Regulations Edition 2022, Article 2 concerning competition regulations, Section 2.01(a) specifies that the relevant CAF competition regulations will determine the minimum category of stadium required for matches in the competition.

Additionally, Section 2.01(b) states that the regulations may define further and/ or stricter structural criteria for the required category than those outlined in the existing regulations.

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The government’s commitment to enhancing sports infrastructure aims to meet international standards, providing a solid foundation for hosting major tournaments and promoting the development of sports nationwide.

The completion and inspection of these stadiums are crucial steps in ensuring Tanzania’s readiness to host AFCON 2027, showcasing the country’s dedication to sports excellence.

The extensive infrastructure development and upgrades underline the government’s strategic approach to fostering a vibrant sports culture and creating opportunities for athletes to thrive on the international stage. With continued investment and support, Tanzania aims to establish itself as a premier destination for major sporting events.

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