What you need to know:
- Speaking when tabling the 2023/2024 fiscal year budget, Culture, Art, and Sports minister Pindi Chana said the stadium needs major renovations in order to improve its standard
Dar es Salaam. The government has announced that it will close the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium for major repairs soon after the national football team, Taifa Stars, have faced Niger in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
Taifa Stars will meet Niger at the stadium in Dar es Salaam on June 17 in group F before travelling to Algiers to face Algeria on September 4.
Taifa Stars are placed second in the Afcon group F standings with four points. The team have tied with Uganda, who are placed third with four points while Niger are at the bottom with two points.
Algeria are at the top with 12 points and have already qualified for the Afcon finals to be held in Ivory Coast.
Speaking when tabling the 2023/2024 fiscal year budget, Culture, Art, and Sports minister Pindi Chana said the stadium needs major renovations in order to improve its standard.
Chana explained that they will cooperate with football stakeholders to renovate the stadium.
"We will close the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium soon after our national team (Taifa Stars) have faced Niger in the Afcon qualifier. We had a committee that reviewed the status of the stadium and came up with a report that it needs to be renovated in order to regain its original status," said Chana.
According to the minister, the government will also build two modern stadiums in Dodoma and Arusha. She said the stadiums are in their plans of hosting the Afcon finals in 2027 together with Uganda and Kenya.
"In hosting the Afcon finals, you need to have not less than eight modern stadiums. Since we are with Kenya and Uganda, we are sure of winning the bid and the two stadiums will be ready before the 2027 finals," she said.
Meanwhile, Members of Parliaments have endorsed a Sh35.4 billion budget for the ministry’s next fiscal year. Sh9.6 billion from the budget will be used for salaries, Sh13.8 billion for meeting other expenses and Sh11.8 billion will be spent on sports development.
According to Chana, the National Sports Council (NSC) is expecting to collect Sh920 million in the next fiscal year, contrary to Sh685 million that was expected to be collected in the last fiscal year.
"The government, through the sports development department, is expecting to collect Sh1 billion from entrance fees in various sports events and from the stadium’s gym hiring," she said.
The ministry’s next fiscal year budget has also highlighted that Sh1.12 billion has been set aside for the construction of Dar es Salaam Sports Arena while Sh130 million has been allocated for the construction of Sports and Arts Arena. She explained that the construction of the Sports and Arts Arena project will start after a feasibility study has been conducted by the project consultant including preparing drawings, evaluating costs of construction, environmental impact research, and the business plan.
According to the minister, the Sports Fund Development Project will be implemented in the next fiscal year with a total of Sh101.2 billion having been allocated for the facilitation of the project.
"The government will continue supporting various sports events including facilitating various national teams,” said the minister.