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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 May, 2004, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Zambia promised new stadiums
By Kennedy Gondwe
BBC Sport, Lusaka

Sports Minister Gladys Nyirongo
Sports Minister Gladys Nyirongo has given no time frame for the new stadium
Zambia is to build three new stadiums in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the country's president Levy Mwanawasa has said.

The stadiums are to be built in Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone.

The decision was announced by Mr Mwanawasa following the confirmation by Fifa that South Africa had won the bid for 2010.

"It is very likely that some teams will consider camping (training) in Zambia," Mr Mwanawasa said.

"For that reason the government has resolved to build three stadiums."

Zambia currently play their international matches at the Independence Stadium, but that is 40 years old and was never built as a ground for football, being designed to host Zamiba's independence celebrations.

The government has said that while it has no intention of closing the Independence stadium, however.

"We don't have any intentions of bringing down [the Independence] stadium - we can end like the Dag Hammerskjold story," sports minister Gladys Nyirongo told BBC Sport.

This was a reference to the Dag Hammerskjold stadium - which was taken down in 1988 with hope of rebuilding another one, only for nothing to materialise.

"Our plans are to build a new stadium but let Independence Stadium be still operational."

Source of worry

Zambia is getting set to host some of the most crucial matches in Africa over the next month - as both the World Cup and the Africa Cup qualifiers get underway.

Executive seats in the Independence Stadium
The executive seats in the Independence Stadium are in a poor state
The Chipolopolo have been drawn against Senegal, Togo, Mali, Congo and Liberia in the qualifying series, and it is anticipated that the venue of the matches, the Independence stadium, will be filled to capacity.

But the poor state of the stadium is a source of worry to many people.

Located in the capital city Lusaka, the stadium was built solely to host the country's independence celebrations when Zambia was liberated from British colonial rule in 1964.

Forty years down the line, the 25,000-seater stadium has long been home to Zambia's international matches - although to date it remains an incomplete structure.

The material used to build it 40 years ago is visibly rotting, making the stadium posing the risk of a potentially fatal accident.

Water supply to the stadium is erratic, while the toilets are a health hazard.

And some plastic chairs in the executive area have fallen off - while the those that remain are disintegrating.

Kalusha Bwalya, the vice president of the Football Association of Zambia (Faz), has confirmed that engineers are to be sent in to inspect the stadium.

Independence Stadium
There are fears over the state of some of the Independence Stadiums' structure
He added that he was "aware" that problems arouse with large parts of the stadium remaining unaltered from 40 years ago.

And he said that if the engineer's report does not favour the stadium, the matches could be played in the Copperbelt province - although stadia there are small.

However he also added that it was "not necessary" to be overly alarmed at the state of the ground, and that another option might be to simply reduce the number of fans entering the Independence Stadium.

"Unless there could be money to build a new stadium between now and next year, which won't happen, we can't do anything," he said.

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