Voice of Sport

Biggest stadium project put on hold but Rwanda has two brand new ones for CHAN

'We have halted all activities related to the construction of Gahanga Stadium [in Kicukiro, Kigali] until further notice, meaning that the facility will not be ready to host the tournament,’ says Government

RWANDA have put on hold plans to build a 40,000-seater stadium that would have been the biggest during the 2016 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) soccer championship in that country.

But, it is full-steam ahead to two other venues. Stadia in Huye [Southern Province] and Rubavu [Western Rwanda] are almost complete and together with existing ones – Amahoro National Stadium in Remera District, Kigali and the Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo – will hold the African soccer bonanza.

Contractual issues

Gahanga Stadium would have been the biggest in the country, but following contractual issues with the main contractors, BABILAKS Construction Co. Limited, its development has been halted. This means it cannot be finished in time for the continental tournament.

The Rwanda Government terminated the contract with the Turkish company and the proposed Gahanga Stadium project was put on hold after faults were detected in the architectural design.

According to the Director of Sports at Ministry of Sports and Culture, Emmanuel Bugingo, the tournament will instead be held at Amahoro, Huye, Rubavu and Kigali Regional stadiums respectively. Bugingo is also the spokesperson of the Chan organising committee.

Turkish company

The Ministry of Sports and Culture signed a two-year- contract with BABILAKS construction limited, a Turkish company under the Babil group of companies to build an estimated $150m [Sh1.2 billion] about Rwf1.2 trillion, state-of -the art sports village comprising a 40,000-seater stadium in Gahanga sector, Kicukiro District.

Bugingo said: “We have halted all activities related to the construction of the stadium until further notice, meaning that the facility will not be ready to host the tournament.”

Revised plans

“We realised there are some details in the plan that we had not paid attention to, which meant that we had to revise the plan,” he added. The construction was supposed to begin in April this year.

“For now, there is not enough time to finish the stadium in time to host CHAN games; we are now looking at the other stadiums around the country which we will use for the tournament,” Bugingo clarified.

CHAN, a tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their respective domestic leagues has since been held in Cote d’Ivoire (2009), Sudan (2011) and South Africa (2014).

–  Additional reporting by [Rwanda] ‘New Times’