CAF Upholds SKD’s Ban after Fourth Inspection, What next for Liberia?

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Feature Photo Courtesy: T. Kla Wesley Jr.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has sustained ban placed on the Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Stadium (SKD) after a fourth inspection.

CAF informed the Liberia Football Association (LFA) in a communication that the SKD Sports Stadium “still does not fully meet the set CAF stadium minimum requirements and consequently will not be approved for the qualifying matches of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers match-day 5 and 6.”

According to CAF, one of the main concerns in the stadium is the pitch in the field of play which is not up to the required level to host CAF/FIFA matches.

It can be referenced that CAF stadium inspection expert, Ivan Bayige Kintu of Uganda on Saturday, October 16, 2021 completed a one day pitch and facility inspection at the Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Complex near Monrovia.

The inspection was carried out based on request from the Liberian government and the FA to see whether the stadium was ready to host international matches especially Liberia’s last two games of the ongoing Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers after series of works done on the facility and playing pitch.

Major works done on different areas of the SKD include: Medical Room, Official Rooms, Team Dressing Rooms, VVIP and VIP Lounges, Stadium Control Room, Bathroom facilities, Media Tribune and Media Room, and etc.

However, the playing pitch, bucket seats, floodlights, and turnstile (electronic ticket system) are amongst key facilities that the Ministry of Sports and the Liberia Football Association (LFA) reckoned were still challenges.

The Liberia national football team has been denied the right to play a single home match of the ongoing qualifiers at their home stadium, the SKD due to the ban.

The Samuel Kayon Doe Stadium in Paynesville has been home to the Lone Star of Liberia since the stadium was opened in 1986.

The last time Liberia used the stadium to host a home match was in September of 2019 against neighboring Sierra Leone in the preliminary qualification of the World Cup.

Liberia next option following the newest decision from CAF might likely be the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana for their last two home fixtures against Group-C’s leaders Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR) next month.

This, according to Liberian football Journalist T. Kla Wesley Jr may cost the government about U$40k.

Liberia last paid a sum of fifteen thousands United States Dollars to the Ghanaian Sports Council (GSC) excluding other match conditioning cost to use the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana for their first home game of the qualifiers against Cape Verde Island earlier this month.

The Lone Star lost 2-1 to the Blue Sharks before bowing to another defeat for a second consecutive time in Mindelo, Cape Verde in the return fixture which has now darkened their chance of advancing to the next playoffs in a bid to secure a first ever slot at the FIFA World Cup finals.

Similarly, the SKD is amongst several venues across the continent that have been sanctioned by the football ruling body from hosting international matches for their poor state.

In Group-C, Liberia and the Central African Republic are the two nations that have played home games outside their native land.

C.A.R hosted Liberia on match-day two in Douala, Cameroon back in September and Liberia won 1-0.

Liberia are currently bottom of Group-C after managing just one win from four games losing three.

Lone Star have their final two games against C.A.R and Nigeria in November.

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