The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) Engineering Brigade is making significant progress in the renovation of Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, and is determined to complete the project on time and within budget.
According to Lt. Col. Eng Peter Seku Kidemuka, the project engineer, the phased renovation that began in February 2022 is currently at 72% completion and is set to be finished by November 30, 2023. The renovation is divided into three phases:
- Securing the Stadium: This phase involved reclaiming the stadium’s 128 acres of land by removing encroachers and fully fencing the area.
- Upgrading and Renovation: The second phase focused on upgrading the stadium to meet international standards. This included mechanical, electrical, and civil work both inside and around the stadium.
- Finalizing Upgrades: The ongoing phase involves planting grass on the main playing field, fitting public address systems, adding seats, electrical and plumbing equipment, and other stadium facilities. A 62-room hotel is also under construction.
Upon completion, the stadium will feature state-of-the-art technology, allowing fans to book tickets and seats online. It will be capable of hosting international football and rugby matches.
Kidemuka highlighted the improvements to the stadium, including upgraded locker rooms, a doctor’s room, anti-doping/doping control facilities, press conference rooms, post-match interview rooms, and facilities for spectators with disabilities. The stadium will meet international standards with seating arrangements for spectators, VIPs, and VVIPs. A modern gym facility open to the public will be available.
Despite the progress, the project has faced challenges, including occupied land and the presence of defunct Pioneer buses occupying parking space, which has slowed down certain aspects of the project such as security lighting, landscaping, and improved parking.
Kidemuka expressed gratitude to various government departments and media for their support in ensuring the project’s success. The completion of the stadium is expected to coincide with hosting the first international match in March 2024.
Additionally, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania submitted a joint bid to host the 2027 African Cup of Nations tournament, making it the first-ever tournament to be hosted by three countries and the first in East Africa in 47 years.