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Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 11:00 UK

Caf happy with Angola progress

By Louise Redvers
BBC Sport, Luanda

An artist's impression of the new Benguela stadium in Angola
An artist's impression of the new Benguela stadium in Angola

Angola's stadiums for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations may still look like building sites, but the country is confident it will be ready in time.

And they have the support of the inspection team from Confederation of African Football (Caf) who visited Angola last week.

Angola, where much of the infrastructure was destroyed by a 27-year civil war, is seen by some as an ambitious choice to host the Nations Cup.

After only six years of peace, many roads remain poor, some still have land mines in them, there are few hotels and the country is hard to to get to for tourists.

However, the country sees the football tournament as a catalyst for change.

And if the amount of building that is going on in the capital of Luanda and the other main provinces is anything to go by, the competition is definitely leading a rebirth of facilities.

Manuel Mariano, Angola's director of information and publicity for COCAN (the Nations Cup organising committee), told the BBC: "We are a country in re-construction. We are a country in movement; the war was over six years ago.

"And you can notice what the changes are, that this country is going through, from North to South, from West to East and in the centre.

"Therefore this is a task that the Angolans will perform and, like the President says, we will have a successful Nations Cup."

All over the country, and particularly in Luanda, new hotels are being built, and key roads linking the provincial capitals are being rebuilt, largely by Chinese construction companies.

An artist's impression of the new Luanda stadium in Angola
An artist's impression of the new Luanda stadium in Angola

The Chinese are also behind the new stadiums and have the contracts to build the four new stadiums in Luanda, Lubango, Cabinda and Benguela.

The Luanda stadium, which is in a new area of suburban development about 25 kilometres from the city centre, will seat 50,000 and have three training pitches.

According to the Caf inspectors, this project and the stadiums in Benguela and Lubango are all running to schedule.

The stadium in Cabinda, however, is proving a little trickier.

Cabinda's geographical location, part of Angola but an isolated province within the DR of Congo, has hampered the building work.

The project is running around 20 days behind schedule, although this time is expected to be recovered over the next few months.

More than 4,000 foreign visitors are expected to come to the 2010 tournament and a lot of work is being done to enhance the capacity of the regional airports and rebuild sections of the railway destroyed during the war.

One concern is access to visas for visiting fans. COCAN say it is now entering the second stage of tournament preparation and this will look at the logistics for tourists and transportation.

Tickets will be pre-sold, the committee said, and a lot of work is going on behind the scenes to prepare the country for the influx of visitors, the group added.

The Caf inspectors are due back in January. Until then, it's all hands to the cement mixers.


see also
Angola to host 2010 Nations Cup
04 Sep 06 |  African
Angola 'favoured' in 2010 race
03 Sep 06 |  African


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