The ongoing construction work around Nakivubo stadium may paint a gloomy future for the football pitch.
Indeed, a glimpse beneath the layers of shops that surround the facility reveals piles of debris in place of what was once grass. Simply put, what was once a dilapidated stadium has been replaced with sprawling arcades.
Although this scenario has created doubt among the football fraternity that maybe one of the all-time football stadiums is on the verge of extinction, Engineer Aine Ashaba from Roko Construction Company, who doubles as project manager, has said the stadium will be ready within four years, with a 30,000 capacity.
In January this year, thousands of Park Yard market vendors in downtown Kampala were evicted to pave way for redevelopment work in and around Nakivubo war memorial stadium. Demolition inside the stadium started late February which left two topflight league clubs in Police FC and SC Villa without a home ground.
But Engineer Ashaba says no one should worry as the stadium is going to be prepared to meet Fifa (football regulatory body) standards.
“Initially, we wanted to complete the stadium in three years and two months but there were some changes in the architectural plan; hence, we have to buy some more time to have standard and strong structures of the stadium,” Ashaba said.
Ashaba noted that the 30,000-sitter stadium is estimated to cost $49m (Shs 176.4bn). When completed, the stadium will have huge screens, confortable chairs and floodlights. There will be parking space for at least 1,000 vehicles and access for people with disabilities, among other facilities.
To mitigate flooding, Ashaba said the playing surface will be approximately 1.5m higher than the old pitch and they have planned for a standard drainage system.
For a change, the pavilion wing will have the main entrance which lies along Nakivubo place road (renamed John Ssebaana Kizito road). Initially, the main entrance was on Namirembe road.