South Sudan completes $5mn stadium project ahead of World Cup qualifiers

By bne IntelliNews June 6, 2024

South Sudan has finalised the construction of a $5mn national stadium initiative after more than two years of work, marking a significant milestone for the country.

Set to host the World Cup qualifiers match between Sudan and the South Sudanese national team, this stadium project was announced by a high-level inaugural committee composed of key officials from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Their announcement came during a press conference held on June 4.

Overseeing the preparations were Deborah Akech Kuocnin, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, alongside South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) President General Maduot Parek, and various other senior sports figures.

Kuocnin revealed plans for the official opening of the stadium by President Salva Kiir Mayardit. The event is expected to draw the presence of the FIFA president and other top sports dignitaries. Furthermore, Parek disclosed that the Sudan versus South Sudan match is slated for June 11.

Expressing optimism for a substantial turnout to rally behind both teams, Parek and fellow sports officials assured spectators of robust security measures throughout the event.

Construction on the stadium commenced in 2019 with an initial completion target of eight months. However, funding shortages and disputes, particularly between the SSFA and the Juba Local Football League (JLFL) regarding playground ownership, led to significant delays. Allegations of corruption and financial limitations further complicated matters.

Progress regained momentum on March 16 this year, following intervention from a FIFA delegation led by Gelson Fernandes, Director for African Member Associations. FIFA's approval for international games and subsequent financial support revitalised construction efforts.

The FIFA President and accompanying delegation are scheduled to visit the country on June 9, for an inspection, signalling the global significance of this development.

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