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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Zambia stadium 'unfit' for games
By Kennedy Gondwe
BBC Sport, Lusaka

The pitch area of Independence stadium
Independence stadium is undergoing major renovation works
The Zambian government has confirmed Independence stadium will not host Zambia's World Cup qualifier games next year.

The 43-year-old arena has been declared unfit to host international matches by world football's governing body Fifa.

A parliamentary committee has also recommended the bulldozing of some areas of Zambia's biggest stadium, including the main grandstand.

The need to rebuild the grandstand means the arena will not be ready in time for the Chipolopolo's World Cup qualifiers.

Sport permanent secretary Bob Samakai says it is part of major renovation works on the stadium which includes the laying of a new artificial pitch.

"The engineers on site say renovation work will not be finished until December 2008," Samakai told BBC Sport.

The grandstand of Zambia's Independence Stadium
The government has confirmed the grandstand will have to rebuilt
'Konkola'

"The main grandstand needs to be pulled down and a new one erected.

"The government is keen not to rush the contractors to finish the job because our aim is to get the best work."

Samakai said the Konkola stadium is now being considered as an alternative venue to host the matches, despite the stadium being smaller in size.

"There is nothing else we can do except to limit the attendance," he added.

Konkola stadium still remains unpopular among Zambian fans following a stampede that claimed 12 lives after a Nations Cup qualifier in June.

An official report into the accident is yet to be released.

Zambia is expecting to benefit from South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup, but the lack of suitable facilities could prove a sticking point.

In 2011, the country is to host the All-Africa Games and government has pledged to build new facilities for the multi-sports event.



SEE ALSO
Zambia stadium declared unfit
29 Aug 07 |  African
Zambian President orders probe
03 Jun 07 |  African
Not fit for purpose
07 Nov 06 |  African


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