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FIFA World Cup: Why Uganda should buy Stadium 974 from Qatar [Editor’s opinion]

The world’s first demountable stadium made of shipping containers will be up for sale after the World Cup to country in need of tournament-ready stadium, and Uganda should buy it!

Stadium 974

Qatar is making quite interesting history with the FIFA World Cup due to kick off in a few weeks. From modern high-tech air-conditioned stadiums to the world’s first temporary stadium, the World Cup among other things, promises to be a spectacle.

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Among the most interesting innovations of this World Cup is Stadium 974. Forget, the nomenclature, 974 stands for Qatar’s dialling code and is also the number of shipping containers that were used to build the venue. The stadium is reinforced by steel, hailed by environmentalists as a shining light of conversation and does not need the air-conditioning technology.

Strategically located close to the newly constructed Hamad International Airport, Doha Airport and Doha Port, Stadium 974 will host seven matches and round of 16 clashes of the World Cup and will be up for sale after the tournament.

Interesting, isn’t it? So why should Uganda buy it?

· It will be up for sale

It will be up for sale and there is no reason why Uganda would not buy something that is ready for grabs. See? It has taken Hamis Kiggundu over 5-7 years and Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium, still hardly shows any sign of readiness. In the words of Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Nakivubo has been 'alienated to a playground of a tennis court and more of a private commercial complex'! So why not buy a ready-made football stadium and declare Nakivubo a tennis court?

For a stadium made of shipping containers and steel, we would get value for money provided it’s heavily protected from scrap dealers etching a living from stealing manhole covers, rails, electric cables etc.

· We are good at assembling

Ugandans are so good at assembling that adding a stadium to the list of things we can assemble would be amazing. We have assembled buses, electronics, phones, etc. We can have our own ‘Made in Uganda’ and it’s a massive 40,000 seater at that!

· AFCON 2027

It’s now a public secret that Uganda wants to host Africa Cup of Nations in 2027. Tanzania and Kenya are the other East African countries reportedly interested in presenting a joint bid with Uganda for the tournament. However, interest is not enough to host such a tournament. It must be backed up by massive investment in sports infrastructure which is glaringly lacking! By buying the Stadium 974, Uganda would have placed itself in comfortable state to present the bid should Namboole Stadium refurbishment live to the billing and present a CAF worthy stadium.

· Diplomacy

Uganda government would score diplomatic points by entering an agreement for the sale stadium. Of late, some elements in opposition politics cast the plight of alleged illegal migrant workers in a heavily politicised angle endangering the huge job market in the Middle East for fellow Ugandans. For Uganda to open talks about this and that and more cooperation with the Middle East for mutual interest, would be a diplomatic win.

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