SPORTS minister Emmanuel Mulenga says there is need to refurbish the National Heroes Stadium as most of its facilities need maintainance.
Speaking to journalists after touring the stadium alongside works and supply minister Sylvia Chalikosa, Mulenga said most of the fire hydrants and the running tracks need maintenance.
“As well as the old Independence Stadium, there are times when we have crucial matches where we need maximum support for our players. This stadium (Heroes) is quite large such that at times we fail to fill it to capacity so I feel if we can rehabilitate the Independence Stadium that can take up to 20,000 supporters, it simply means that in a crucial game we can use the Independence Stadium so that our players can have maximum support for them to put up a good performance and I hope and trust that with your leadership, honorable minister [Chalikosa] that can be looked at as soon as possible,” he said.
“Minister (Chalikosa) after having a tour with you, we have noticed that our facility needs maintenance, especially the running tracks as well as the fire hydrants. In case of fire, we need these hydrants so that fire is put off in a short period of time.”
Mulenga said during the period of restrictions brought about by COVID-19, the works ministry could use this period when all sports disciplines are not using the facility to maintain the stadium.
Chalikosa said her ministry was in contact with the contractor to do the maintenance.
She assured Mulenga that the ministry was already on the ground for Heroes Stadium.
“During the tour, we did notice that the fire hydrants have been vandalised and the flood lights in the old stadium (Independence) have been stolen. I think, minister, we will look at removing all the spare parts and lost things so that we can put them in safekeeping while we look at the major works like the contracts,” she said Chalikosa.
“As we go forward, I would like to inform you honorable minister that we have been in contact with the contractor through the Chinese Embassy and we are discussing the issues of refurbishing and rehabilitating Heroes Stadium. As for the Independence [Stadium], that will be the issue of government to look into but as for the Heroes Stadium we have engaged the contractor.”
Chalikosa said her ministry was going to come up with a policy on maintenance of all public assets.
Heroes Stadium was built in 2013 and handed over to the Zambian government by the Chinese government in 2014.
The stadium was constructed at a cost of US$94 million through a concessional loan from China.