By Edwin Kyle Kule
The general lack of adequate and standard football stadiums and sports facilities in the country properly manifests the plight of sports in Uganda.
With most of the facilities and football stadiums located in the central region, sports and football development for that matter in the different regions around the country has stalled.
West Nile region, home to Uganda Premier League side Onduparaka FC is one of the regions that have suffered in that regard with only the Greenlight Stadium the only recognised stadium in the region by FUFA standards much as it’s far from meeting the standards of a serious sports facility.
Although the region is facing the same challenge of facilities just like the rest of the country, that might be a story of the past if the Arua Hill Stadium is completed.
The Arua Hill Stadium project run by Engineer Jaffer A’ita Joel proprietor of Joadah Consultants Limited will be a 20,000-capacity stadium and will host football, basketball and netball among other sports disciplines upon completion.
The City of Arua has provided A’ita and his company with a lease of up to 49-years for the site located on Pakwach road, as construction that started in 2019 continues.
With the project earmarked to end in June 2021, lead Engineer A’ita is confident the progress of the project is according to the timeline, as he earmarks the stadium will not only benefit sports but business in general.
“We officially started the project on June 30, 2019, and its a two years project. So, I can confidently say by June 2021 the facility will be handed over to the city authorities,” A’ita confirmed as he appeared on West Nile TV.
“I am happy to say we are on the last floor of the building and by December this year roofing of the stadium stands will commence.”
“Arua Municipality came to us to do something for them and by that time there was a game at the Arua field but the pitch was in a bad state with gullies and no grass.”
“So, quickly we thought it out that it will be a good project for us to get our hands on. Within no time I threw the idea to our designers who came up with an innovative plan,” A’ita noted.
While construction requires huge resources and investment, maintenance of these sports facilities requires constant and heavy costs even with no action taking place.
A number of facilities have gone to waste given the huge maintenance costs, and upon that background, A’ita and his colleagues came up with an innovation where they constructed a business park and apartments to help provide steady income flow for the stadium even with no sports action taking place.
“As we looked at the current stadiums like Namboole and others within the country. You will be my witness that they are dead stadiums and hardly function when there is no match.”
“And this makes maintenance of the stadium difficult given the limited funds to cover electricity, water and other bills. Which later hinders proper flow of activities at the facility.”
“When we looked at that, it was going to be hard to earn from the investment. So, our team came up with a design to set up a live stadium. The concept here is 24/7 the facility is functioning with other activities.”
While the facility will be owned by Arua city, the business park and apartments will be run and managed by Joadah Consultants who will also undertake maintenance of the facility.
Onduparaka and Paidha Black Angels who have recently depended solely on the Greenlight Stadium to host their Uganda Premier League and FUFA Big League games respectively will be excited by the development.