FIFA President Gianni Infantino has revealed his plans and ambitions to support and develop football in Africa.Infantino outlined three major pillars that can get football in Africa to the highest peak which are Refereeing, Infrastructure and Competitions to be done in conjunction with CAF and the other stakeholders.
On infrastructure, FIFA President hinted that the organization will mobilize companies and entrepreneurs to gather around USD 1 billion with the objective of building at least one stadium in each African country.
This disclosure clearly puts Liberia into the picture to benefit from this gesture of FIFA , to ensure infrastructural support to African countries which is one of the major development impediments. Liberia is among one of the countries in Africa with the least number of sports infrastructure , infrastructure is consider as a key tool for the development of sports . With economic situation couple with low number of investors locally to invest into sports facility as well . Liberia currently boost of 1 international standard sports complex : The Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium known as SKD Stadium ,is a multi-purpose stadium in Paynesville, Liberia, a suburb of the country’s capital, Monrovia.
The SKD Complex located in Paynesville ,outside of the capital Monrovia ,was built in 1986, it is used mostly for football matches and has an athletics track, though it has also been used for a reggae concert, political rallies, IDP refuge, and Ebola treatment. The largest stadium in Liberia, its spectator capacity is 35,000. The stadium was commissioned by President William Tolbert, who did not start the construction and was removed from power in a 1980 coup d’état by 17enlist men of the Armed Forces of Liberia led by Samuel Doe. Completed during Doe’s reign, he named the facility after himself.
During Liberia’s second civil war, thousands sought refuge in the stadium. On June 24, 2003, following the breakdown of a cease fire, there were a reported 58,000 IDPs in the stadium, more than 5% of Monrovia’s estimated 1,000,000 residents. The stadium has had frequent problems with overcrowding, due on at least one occasion to illegal ticket sales.In 2008, eight people died of suffocation following a football match, and in 2014, spectators were reported to have fainted. The stadium has been the site of international concerts, national political events, and multiple World Cup qualifying matches. In 1988, the Reggae Sunsplash concert was held in SKD. The 24-hour long event featured Burning Spear, Yellowman, and other well-known roots and dancehall reggae artists flown in from Jamaica. In recent times WAFU tournament , many of the Liberian national team international matches including FIFA and unsanctioned international friendly matches of Liberia .
In September 2005, a $7.6 million renovation funded by China was announced and Chinese company Hunan Constructing Engineering Group Corporation was named as the contractor.After the two-year renovation was complete, Liberia lacked the expertise to manage the electronic scoreboard. The grass was badly damaged after a 2009 international women’s conference.
In October 2013, another agreement was signed between the governments of Liberia and China funding a $18 million renovation of the stadium.The plans for the second renovation included the practice pitch and tennis courts that were not repaired six years earlier.Matches between Liberian county teams were reported in early 2014.
“What I want, what FIFA wants and what football needs is to see African football shine. We want to bring it to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses. To do this, we want to implement a three pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions.
In close cooperation with CAF, the 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders, I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because the quality and potential are definitely here.”
Source: FIFA /LS online Sports Desk