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Sports minister halts construction of Juba stadium after accident

October 8, 2020

The South Sudan minister of youth and sports, Dr. Albino Bol, on Tuesday halted civil construction works at the Juba Stadium after a concrete section collapsed in what the contractor said was a “minor accident.”

“As the minister, I want to make it clear to the public that from now onwards until further notice, the work has to stop because I am going to consult with the Vice President, the head of the sports, gender, and youth cluster, Mama Rebecca De Mabior, and also the vice president for infrastructure,” Dr. Albino Bol said at a press conference in Juba.

“And the ministry itself is going to have a team of technocrats who are going to inspect together with FIFA and resident engineers. Also, the construction engineering team would come and evaluate if it was a minor incident as it has been communicated to me or is it a structural defect,” he added.

Dr. Bol said the government must make sure that everything is done properly because the facility is being donated to the people of South Sudan and it will be the people to enjoy it and that public safety must be ensured. “If it is a structural defect, then the government will have another say. But if it is a minor incident that has led to the collapse or bending then the work is going to be resumed in less than two weeks,” he said.

“We also want to ensure that the concrete will last for many years because at the end of the day we are building and developing our nation. And sports infrastructure is one of the best and basic development infrastructures. This stadium is very vital, being the only stadium in the country. And being the only stadium where the vast majority of functions will be carried out here in Juba,” Dr. Bol reiterated.

Girma Chifero, the managing director of JEDCO, the construction firm contracted to build Juba stadium, said the accident that led to the collapse of a section of the stadium was caused by a concrete pump.

“Regarding what is circulating in the media, I want to clarify what happened. The incident is a minor accident and during the casting of fresh concrete, the concrete pump shooter knocked the support and the fresh concrete came down,” Girma Chifero said. “This is what happened and it has happened to many construction companies like this one and it is not a major incident and it has nothing to do with any structural defect of the stadium.”

Chifero said there were no injuries and when pressed by the press, he estimated the cost of the damage at US$ 2,000.

The construction of the Juba stadium is a $5 million pledge made to the South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) by FIFA President Gianni Infantino during his visit to South Sudan after his first election as head of the world soccer governing body.

The stadium was initially slated to be completed in February but has not kept projected schedules due to delays in receiving funds from FIFA who is the sole funder of the reconstruction project.

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