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MBABANE – The Somhlolo National Stadium will be equipped with smart technology to meet the ever changing CAF requirements, as part of the rehabilitation which is nearing its end.

CAF stands for the Confederation of African Football and is the continental football mother body, which banned the national stadium from hosting high profile games in 2019. Such games are categorised as ‘A’ matches. They include the senior national team Sihlangu international games, as well as for local teams, representing the country in CAF matches, when they reach the group stages.

The banning of Somhlolo National Stadium saw Sihlangu and the country’s CAF envoys seeking for an alternative venue to host games. South Africa was largely used by the locals to play matches for the past years since CAF imposed the ban.

The Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga, revealed that even though the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini once again could not allocate a budget for the construction of a new stadium, the ministry would continue to refurbish the ‘Mecca’ of local football to be aligned to the CAF requirements.

Bulunga said the government needed to spend at least over E1 billion to build an upmarket stadium, which he said was unfortunately not allocated in the 2023 Budget Speech delivered by the Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg, in Parliament last Friday. The Mbabane East Member of Parliament (MP) said part of the renovations at Somhlolo included the construction of a wall fence around the stadium, which would have new gates with improved technology.


“These gates would help in easing queues, as fans would just produce the ticket and the gate would detect it. This new technology would help teams know the number of fans who were at the stadium than guessing, as it is the norm currently,” Bulunga said. The minister said they would also construct what is called a Venue Operation Centre, as this was one of CAF security requirements for a stadium to have CCTV cameras around the venue.

“This centre is where all the activities happening around and inside the stadium would be monitored for security reasons,” he said. He further said this would improve security measures for fans at the stadium upon the rehabilitations of Somhlolo were completed. It is worth mentioning that, the government has spent E79 771 000 for upgrading the stadium since it was established. The estimated expenditure by end of this month is expected to hit over E90 000 000 (E94 771 000). This is according to the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini Book Estimates which were released this past Friday.

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