By Martin Kaddu
Following Uganda’s joint bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations together with Kenya and Tanzania, developers of Nakivubo stadium, Ham Enterprises have assured Ugandans that the historic stadium will be ready by the deadline as the first phase of construction is set to be completed by the end of this year. The East African countries submitted their joint Pamoja bid to CAF late last month but at the time of submission, only Tanzania has a standard stadium approved by CAF and FIFA to host international matches. However, with Namboole stadium’s latest renovation works expected to get done sometime before the end of this year, Ugandans may have another stadium ready with Nakivubo stadium’s redevelopment taking shape.
Over the weekend, Workers’ representative in Parliament and former state minister for sports Hon. Charles Bakkabulindi had a guided tour of the multibillion facility. “I am happy with the work so far. Many looked at the shops that were erected first but I had the trust. As an investor, who might have taken loans for the huge investment, he had to establish sources of how to repay the loans and recoup his capital investment,” notes Bakkabulindi.
He says that the works done by Ham Enterprises should trigger the government to extend incentives to local investors. “We should encourage local investors and protect them. Let us give them as much as we offer foreign investors because for them, they (local investors)are here to stay unlike other scam investors we have seen,” stresses Bakkabulindi, who oversaw the leasing of Nakivubo stadium to developers Ham Enterprises in 2017 under the public private partnership (PPP) arrangement. “I have no regrets for the leasing of Nakivubo because we are having a new and better facility in place and yet the government’s only investment is land as the developer is funding the project,” he adds.
Ham Enterprises General Manager Nakibinge Kiggundu says that the stadium is built in phases and the first phase will be done by the end of this year. “We still have three levels to add in the second phase which will come when the stadium is in use already. The indoor games including boxing have been catered for, the drainage, VIP, entrance is top notch yet we shall also ensure the best playing (artificial) turf,” he explains. “We are building an international stadium and we are following international standards,” adds Nakibinge, who also rubbishes talk that the dominant yellow seats in stands reflect the political affiliation of the developer. “Why would someone mind the color of seats when you come to enjoy your favorite team play? If anyone has seats of the same standard in any color to donate to us, we are open to receiving that offer,” notes Nakibinge.
According to the developers, the construction is done in consultation with CAF and FIFA with the stadium expected to be a 45000-seater upon completion.