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AFCON2019 Preps: Paul Biya stadium construction deadline extended

The Italian company in charge of the construction of the Olembe Stadium ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, have declared that they will not be able to complete the construction within the initial deadline set by the government of Cameroon.

The company officials made the declaration in a meeting with Ishmael Bidoung Mkpatt, Minister of Sports and Physical Education on February 13, in Yaounde.

Bidoung Mkpatt took time out to criticize everyone suspected of blocking the progress of construction works on the project site in Olembe, a locality in the outskirts of Yaounde. He gave Piccini, the Italian company, 17 months to get the stadium constructed and ready for AFCON 2019 matches. He told them to hasten execution of the contract. “The time for talking is over”, he stressed. The minister also urged engineers off the sports ministry to improve on their collaboration with engineers of the Italian company.

Sam Thamin, General Manager of the company who was accompanied to the meeting by 13 engineers was reassured all financial problems had been put to rest. The company is expected to complete the stadium before AFCON2019 kicks offs. The covered stadium situated 13km from Yaounde Central town is expected to have sitting capacity of 60.000 seats. Besides the main pitch, it will also have two training fields, a commercial centre and lodging facilities.

The stadium is worth 163billion FCFA. An Italian bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, signed a loan convention with Cameroon’s Ministry of Economy and Regional Planning in 2016. The amount represent 85 percent of the total sum required for the construction of the stadium.

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