Where will Uganda put up 2nd Afcon stadium?

An architectural model of the proposed Akii-Bua stadium in 2018. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Kenya, whose hospitality industry needs little introduction, is said to have fronted improvements on Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, with the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret just over 300kms from the capital as the third option.
  • Chamazi Complex, home to Azam FC, the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza, and some venues in Dodoma, Arusha and Zanzibar are other options Tanzania will look to touch up or invest in to meet Caf standards. Cameroon, the 2021 Afcon hosts, used half a dozen venues. Caf also requires each host country to have at least three training grounds near match venues that meet Caf set standards.

Shortly after the champagne was taken off the ice in the wake of a joint East African bid from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania getting the green light to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), one question stood out. Which other stadium will join Mandela National Stadium in staging Afcon finals matches in 2027? 

In its bid document, Fufa listed Denver Godwin Stadium (Garuga), St Mary’s Stadium and Nakivubo Stadium as the other stadiums worth mentioning in the country. Kampala International School Uganda (Kisu) and Muteesa II Stadium Wankulukuku were listed as training grounds. 

Uganda will need two stadia and four training grounds to stage eight Afcon matches in 2027. Three of those eight matches will include all of Uganda’s group matches. Fufa Akii Bua Stadium and Hoima Stadium are proposed new stadiums in its bid document. The local football governing body also listed Entebbe International Airport, Kabalega Airport, Hoima, as hubs for transit during African football’s showpiece event in 2027.

Mr Tom Butime, the Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities minister, told Daily Monitor yesterday that sports tourism should inform decisions on erection of sports infrastructure in the run-up to Afcon 2027.

“I know now some people will think I am recommending Fort Portal because that is where I come from, but that city is lucky because it has so many beautiful playgrounds, schools and hospitals. That is why I recommend Fort Portal as one of the places where a stadium can be based,” he said.
He added: “Uganda has regions, cities, we can have a stadium in the north, in the east and in the west. Masaka also is a place where people host very good football.”

Ms Nancy Okwong, the spokesperson of the Uganda Tour Operators Association (UTOA), said Afcon 2027 will increase the number of tourists coming to Uganda hence more revenue.

“Due to more publicity and marketing of the tournament, we shall be marketing our country hence more tourists,” Ms Okwong said.
Mr Simplicious Gessa, the Uganda Tourism Board spokesperson, outlined the different types of tourism.

“We have nature-based tourism where people look at wildlife, which already have gazetted zones. We also have adventure tourism, which is also mass oriented because it takes in unlimited amounts of people at a given time,” he said, adding, “Adventure-based tourism is mostly known for the eastern region where you have water rafting, zip lining, bungee jumping, boat rides, parties, and people who can go to a place and enjoy what nature has to offer.”

According to the Confederation of African Football (Caf), match venues of a hosting country should be near an airport, a level five hospital and a five-star hotel. Fufa listed Sheraton and Serena (Kampala) as the country’s five-star hotels in its bid document.