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Uganda To Pay CAF Shs112bn To Co-Host 2027 AFCON

Peter Ogwang, Minister of State for Sports

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has set up six stringent conditions for Uganda to co-host the 2027 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) among which includes payment of US$ 30M (Shs112.407Bn) as hosting fees.

The revelation was made by Peter Ogwang, Minister of State for Sports in his statement on the motion paying tribute on the successful East Africa Pamoja bid where Uganda was selected to host AFCON 2027 alongside Kenya and Tanzania.

Ogwang informed Parliament that if the three nations succeed at hosting the tournament, it will be the first time the East and Central African (CECAFA) football zone will host the AFCON in 47 years since Ethiopia hosted it in 1976, which tournament has been dominated by nations in West, South and North African regions but not to East Africa.

“This is a great milestone in fostering the spirit of cooperation in the East African Community. While the decision to pool resources and efforts was strategic indeed, the three countries are still faced with challenges including inadequate sports infrastructure and funding against other competing priorities The AFCON 2027 requires substantial investment in Infrastructure for the games, accommodation, Air, Water, and Road transport accessibility. These are expected to yield significant dividends in the short, medium and long term,” said Ogwang.

The Minister went on to note that in March 2017, when Uganda hosted the one-day World Athletics Cross Country championships in Kampala, a report from the Sports Consultancy (a firm that undertakes research) indicated that the direct economic impact of the championships stood at US$2,622,000 (Shs9.821Bn) overall and US$1.31 million (Shs4.906Bn) out of a total expenditure of US$1.96 million (Shs7.341Bn) was spent on local suppliers among others.

Minister Ogwang added that the AFCON 2027 is not just about Football, but it is also an opportunity to showcase the beauty of East Africa to the rest of the world and Government is expecting many tourists to flock the region known for its diversity, culture, landscapes, wildlife and vibrant cities, but for this to be fulfilled, there are conditions that have to be fulfilled.

“Execution of Government Guarantees to host AFCON 2027 submitted to CAF. Sign off and submission of the Hosting agreement after CAF bid declarations. Payment of hosting fees amounting to USD 30M to CAF before February 2025. Each country is required to pay USD 30M (Shs112.407Bn),” said Ogwang.

The Minister also added, “Uganda must ensure the construction of two additional stadia to host the AFCON; Akii Bua stadium (Lira) and Buhinga stadium (Fort Portal)/or Hoima city stadium in Hoima, renovation and upgrading of Mandela National Stadium as well as Securing all required funding for smooth logistical operations and delivery of the games.”

Barnabas Tinkansimire (Buyaga East) asked Government to emulate Qatar when it banned any promotion of homosexuality activities in their nation during the recently concluded 2022 World Cup, by ensuring that as Uganda prepares to host AFCON, individuals planning to promote homosexuality during the tournament aren’t allowed into Uganda.

He remarked, “As this tournament is drawing near or as we prepare, we must also prepare for the negatives that will come with it. My mind was drawn to such an event that happened at World Cup where one country flew in with a flag promoting homosexuality. They had to tell them to return, remove the flag and return. We must be prepared as a country that has taken a stand that we shall not allow such activities here, warn the participating countries and even those coming that this will not be tolerated here.”

Kayemba Ssolo (Bukomansimbi South) pleaded with people planning to swindle the AFCON funds through dubious deals to this time around have mercy and not embezzle funds as was the case during CHOGM in 2007.

“When we got CHOGM, most Government officials saw it as a cash cow; they stole all the money, I would like to request you, the hungry, money embezzlers and thieves, this time around, take a leave on this, so that we can achieve our historical dream,” said Kayemba.

He also expressed skepticism on Uganda’s commitment towards constructing the two stadia by 2025 given the slow pace of renovation works at Mandela National Stadium in Namboole, whose deadline has so far been extended twice, with many doubts on whether even the November 2023 deadline would be met.

He added, “This is a historical moment for our country, however winning the bid and hosting AFCON are two different things. In 2019, Cameroon lost the bid but due to its unreadiness; AFCON was taken to Egypt and you realize the situation our country is in especially with the sports facilities I get anxiety and say if the status quo remains, we wouldn’t want what happened to Cameroon to happen to Uganda. When you look at Namboole, it is under renovation and the renovations have taken 2years, that snail speed, imagine constructing new stadia in this period. I ask the Government this time around to give the work to professionals so that we give this country the milage it needs.”

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