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Gabon: sports infrastructure is deteriorating

by Theophile
Stade de l’Amitié sino-gabonaise

This is the observation made by France 24 which has to put its finger on the realities on the ground.

While African football vibrated to the rhythm of the matches of the African Cup of Nations organized in Cameroon in brand new enclosures, the debate on the maintenance and profitability of stadiums after such a competition resurfaced in Gabon. Despite the spectacular performances of the selection since the start of the CAN, Gabonese football, particularly shaken by a pedophilia scandal, is doing badly.

The stadiums and other equipment prepared by Gabon in 2012 to host the African Cup of Nations (Can) are deteriorating over time. The reason, the maintenance of these infrastructures is not at the rendezvous.

Damaged equipment. Buses used during Can 2017 are abandoned in the brush. For 4 years, the Sino-Gabonese Friendship Stadium has been deteriorating, ”notes France 24.

Derleck Leckobat, a Gabonese journalist who took part in Can Gabon 2017, still remembers the splendor of the Sino-Gabonese Friendship stadium five years ago: “It was all beautiful to see. Look at how it looks like today. It was a place that inspired a certain pride. There were journalists from all over the world. And when they were there, Gabon was valued. Today when I come back, when I see that, it’s sad,” he recalls.

According to the reporter for the French channel, “The renovation work on the Omar Bongo stadium never saw the light of day, however, the Gabonese state had invested nearly 100 billion FCFA there”. Returned in 2022, the facilities are dilapidated”, the “eroded lawns” and “for two years, the national championship has been stopped”, can we listen.

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For Paiji Ulrich Kessany, sports infrastructure is a heritage item, a jewel to be preserved and preserved: “when you have something historic like that, you have to be able to fight to rehabilitate it because it’s part of the history of several generations, that’s the story of Gabon…”, declares the former Gabonese international.


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