THE Government has injected 31bn/- for massive renovation of the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium whose construction is expected to start soon.
This was revealed by the Minister for Culture, Arts and Sports, Pindi Chana, in Dar es Salaam on Thursday after the minister signed a construction contract with the Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) of China, the company that originally constructed the stadium.
The aim of the renovation is to meet the standards set by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to maintain the stadium’s high-quality status. The stadium was initially built in 2005.
“The company responsible for the stadium’s renovation must ensure that the work is done to the highest standards required by CAF and FIFA. The Secretary-General of the Ministry will closely supervise this task to ensure timely completion and the correct standards,” she said.
Chana also instructed BCEG to ensure that the renovation work meets the required standards of FIFA and CAF.
“The stadium’s transformation should be executed with meticulous attention to detail, leaving no room for compromise in delivering a world-class sporting facility that will stand as a testament to Tanzania’s commitment to excellence in the realm of football infrastructure.” Chana Said.
In retrospect, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Said Yakubu said the renovation will cover areas such as the players’ rooms, the media area, and the replacement of all stadium seats that have exceeded their lifespan, as they were originally meant to last for only seven years.
Yakubu called on fans to take good care of the infrastructure to avoid damages while attending matches at the stadium.
“We will renovate all areas of the stadium and install 45,000 new seats, add two more goals, and upgrade the stadium’s electrical and water systems. We will also improve the special VIP section where customers can pay a premium to watch matches, as well as upgrade the stadium’s floodlights, which currently stand at 288,” he said.
“By meeting these international standards, Tanzania aims to elevate its sporting stature on the global stage and demonstrate its capability to host prestigious football events with utmost proficiency and pride,” he said.
To his side, The Deputy Chairman of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), Steven Mguto, mentioned that TFF will improve the technical benches area, while CAF will take care of the playing pitch.
“The CAF inspection team is expected to arrive in the country today to inspect the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, as well as other venues like Uhuru Stadium, Muhimbili Hospital, the airport and hotels, to ensure that Tanzania becomes the host for the AFCON tournament,” he added.
“As the inspection team embarks on this momentous journey, the nation’s collective spirit soars with hope and pride, knowing that their beloved country is one step closer to becoming the cherished host of the AFCON tournament,” he explained.
The Benjamin Mkapa Stadium was initially constructed in 2005 and completed in 2007. It has a capacity to accommodate 60,000 fans and is ranked among the top 20 stadiums in Africa.