While the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association’s Senior Challenge Cup gets underway in Kampala tomorrow, the huge concern is on the safety degree of the Nakivubo Stadium.
Located at the heart of Kampala’s busiest district, the stadium’s safety concern has in most cases been overlooked.
Evacuation of people for whatsoever natural calamity or fire is most likely to trap spectators into a huge disaster.
Roads leading to the stadium are narrow and always jammed throughout the day. Known for their football obsession, Ugandans are always interested to see their home team excel at whatever price and should one of their matches staged inside the stadium, the stands are expected top be full as early as 10:00 in the morning.
The only safe and huge stand is that of the eastern but the western and southern ones are delicate and pose huge risk to the life of spectators.
Just outside the stadium walls vendors are scattered all over with roads crowded by pedestrians as well as immovable traffic.
Congestion by people and cars outside the Nakivubo Stadium is an order of the day. Moreover, the Challenge Cup organisers should only pray for the weather to stabilise was rain would complicate evacuation process in case of a disaster during a match.
As a spectator you have to be patient at the end of the match as exit doors of the stadiums are limited and overcrowding outside would always back-pedal your efforts.
The stadium management has been inviting vendors to operate on the perimeters of the football home with tenacious zeal to generate more revenue than football matches
Vendors have been comfortably occupying the stadium perimeters with an incredible ease as the management have been quiet as if nothing is happening.
Built in 1921, the Nakivubo Stadium is one of the oldest in East Africa but its access and safety concern pose huge risk to spectators inside and other people trading outside.
Lock-up shops have been raised on the pillars of the stadium standings.
Without a press centre location, it still remains to be seen how the Federation of Uganda Football Associations, FUFA, is prepared to handle them.
Some of the Challenge Cup matches will be staged at the sate of the art Naamboole Stadium alongside the road to Jinja.
The annual championship has attracted a total of twelve teams, including hosts Uganda and invites Malawi.
Mainland team, the Kilimanjaro Stars, board a flight to Kampala via Entebbe today ahead of tomorrow’s kick off when hosts will entertain Kenya in group A match at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Namboole. Additional reporting by James Bakama of New Vision.