Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers reveal state of stadium development in Africa

Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers reveal state of stadium development in Africa
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Grand Stade de Tanger – Morocco, venue for Liberia and Nigeria match

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

When the qualifying series for the 2022 FIFA World Cup ends in Africa in March next year, an epilogue could be necessary on the state of stadium facilities in the continent.

Some of the African teams have had to seek alternative venues outside their frontiers for their home matches owing to the poor standard of facilities at home.

The sports standard of a region is often a reflection of facilities it offers. If this were to be so, Morocco looks the most advanced in facilities hence it persistent bid to host the World Cup since the France ’98 edition.

Apart from hosting its three home games in Group I, Morocco also hosted matches of its group rivals including Guinea, Sudan Guinea Bissau and Sudan.

To demonstrate the level of infrastructural development, each of those countries was allocated a ground in different cities.

While the real host Morocco play at Complexe Mohammed V de Casablanca, Guinea Bissau had Grand Stade in Marrakech, Sudan had the Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah in Rabat  while before returning back to Conakry, Guinea played their home games at the same stadium.

The other groups have also found Morocco a hood hosting ground for their home matches.  Liberia in Nigeria’s Group C played their first home game in Accra Ghana which was a ‘shouting’ distance from their country and with whom they share common national linguistic.

But for their next two home games, they too moved to Morocco where they were allocated Tangier as if to prove the stadium-plurality of Morocco.

Burkina Faso in Group A were ‘allocated’ the Grand Stade in  Marrakech  while Mali in Group E are playing  at Grand Stade d’Agadir.

Even Nigeria’s neighbours, Benin are not left out in having some other countries’ World Cup matches in their territory.

Both Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique opted for Benin Republic for their Matchday 5 and 6 games at the Stade de l’Amitie General Mathieu Kérékou in Cotonou.

South Africa is another country that boast of facilities which had hosted grand events including the World Cup.

In the on-going World Cup qualifiers, the South Africans have had to allow Malawi in Group D, Ethiopia in Group G and Namibia in Group H move their home games to their territory.

Malawi play at their last home match at Orlando Stadium  in Johannesburg,  the same adopted home ground for Ethiopia and Namibia.

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