US$18 million squandered on SKD
Deputy Minister Quamie
By Kruah Thompson (intern)
The Ministry of Youths and Sports laments that about US$ 18 million was spent by the Government of China to renovate the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Stadium between 2016 and 2019, but the level of work done on the stadium leaves much to be desired.
Deputy Minister for Sports, G. Andy Quamie says that amount could have built an entirely new stadium in Liberia, noting that the government at the time did not evaluate the Chinese government properly, which led to alleged misappropriation of the $18 million.
“In my mind, we could’ve asked the Chinese people to use that $18million to build a brand new stadium, because $16 million can build you a brand new stadium with all the facilities. There’s nothing there to show and there’s nothing there to see”, he expressed in frustration while speaking with journalists recently in Monrovia.
The deputy minister’s comment followed a ban imposed by the world’s football governing body FIFA, on the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium for not meeting international standards, despite its renovation by the Chinese under the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
However, Quamie, who also served in the former administration, discloses the Government of Liberia is in negotiation with FIFA and friendly nations to build a modern stadium in Liberia, adding that land has already been identified for such purpose.
According to him, the Ministry of Finance under the current administration has expended up to date, approximately US$160,000 on renovation work at the SKD Sports Stadium, saying this amount might likely increase to US$519,000 if bucket seats are installed at the stadium.
He continues that the Ministry of Finance is willing to cooperate with the Ministry of Youths and Sports in renovating the stadium that has a seating capacity of 35,000.
He recalls that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) similarly banned the stadium from sporting activities in May this year, but two hours later, it lifted the ban temporarily.
Two days later, Quamie adds, the Government of Liberia received a communication thru a zoom call from CAF to discuss a way forward after the temporary lifting, directing that Liberia should play its first game at home in the World Cup Qualifiers against the Central African Republic, which FIFA has redirected to Cameroon.
Additionally, a set of guidelines and procedures was given through the zoom call, giving Liberia the opportunity to improve its stadium.
Deputy Minister Quamie continues that the Ministry of Youths and Sports again received a second letter from CAF on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, instructing that the game scheduled with CAR for September 6, 2021, has been moved from Liberia to Cameroon, instead.
He notes that within the clearing, CAF stated that Liberia will play her September game, but for the October match an inspection will be conducted on the SKD Stadium to ascertain for themselves, whether there has been improvement in meeting international standards.
The Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium (completed by slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe and named in his honor) is a multi-purpose stadium that is part of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia.
The project for the stadium was started in 1975 by late President William R. Tolbert, Jr, who was toppled in a bloody coup by the Doe-led military junta in 1980.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-and-china-sign-agreement-to-extend-skd-sports-complex-project/ Editing by Jonathan Browne