Almost a year after the start of renovations to the national stadium in Lagos, the sports arena is not yet complete, reports The PUNCH.

After nearly two decades of neglect and neglect, the Department of Youth and Sports Development led by Sunday Dare, through its Adopt-A-Pitch initiative, brought a smile to many sports fans across the country by establishing a private public partnership. financing of the renovation of the football field, the athletics track and the electronic scoreboards of the main ball of the stadium in 2020. Checks by our correspondent showed that work has since started and is continuing, with the rehabilitation pitch, tartan tracks and the replacement of the electronic scoreboard adopted by billionaire businessman Sir Kessington Adebutu, chairman of Premier Lotto Limited.

Last December, Dare said the facility would reopen in May 2021, but contractors told The PUNCH that the delay in delivering the project was largely due to the late arrival of materials due to COVID- 19.

The reopening of the stadium was also scheduled for August, but was postponed due to the slowness of the works.

When our correspondent visited the stadium on Sunday, the sports arena had its old decaying appearance, with illegal structures, which were demolished in September 2020.

But fieldwork had reached an advanced stage as the grassed terrain looked lush green and well maintained, but the tartan tracks had yet to be repaired, the materials for the tracks arrived earlier this year, left near the entrance. to the main bowl.

A senior ministry official, who spoke to The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said that “the ongoing rehabilitation work in the main bowl of the stadium has faced a series of challenges which have lengthened the period of construction and delayed completion of the work “.

He added: “Some of these challenges include the exchange rate of the dollar against the naira, which affected and delayed the purchase of the electronic scoreboard, as well as synthetic materials for athletic tracks.

“In addition, security has been a challenge due to the vandalism of the electric cables that feed the stadium.

“To alleviate these security concerns, FMYSD had to award the contract for external solar lighting for the stadium complex. This contract was fully executed and significantly improved the security situation in the stadium.

“Overall, the rehabilitation work on the stadium’s main bowl is progressively progressing towards success.

Our correspondent learned that the work on the football field was focused on FIFA standards.

Planting of the Bermuda Hybrid Grass has been completed and maintenance is underway. The second batch of organic boom sprays to revitalize the growing grass will begin this week, our source said.

It was further learned that the combination of the underground drainage system on the field and the soil mixture for the football field will prevent leaching of the soil and help the field during a downpour.

Dashboard installation is currently underway as foreign installers from original equipment manufacturers, who were initially delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, are now on site.

Regarding the athletics tracks, our ministry said, “when the final compaction of the football field is completed, the resurfacing of the base of the athletics tracks will begin and the laying of the synthetic tracks will be done immediately after.

“It is instructive to note that the materials for the synthetic athletic track have also been provided and are securely locked in the stores at the National Stadium.”

One of the site’s contractors, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, gave our correspondent an update on the renovation, adding that Italians were currently repairing the dashboard, which he said had been changed from analog. to digital.

He said: “There has never been a time when work has been halted at the stadium because we report to the ministry on the progress of the project weekly.

“We finished planting the grass in June and what we did was do some maintenance work to get rid of the weeds. We are already fixing the dashboard and if you go past the stadium you will see the scaffolding.

“The previous dashboard was analog and now we are installing a digital one and we have to cut it to meet the new specs. The board has been set up and everything is almost finished.

“The surface of the tracks needs to be paved. We couldn’t have done it without encroaching on the ground. The work on the tracks will begin when we are done with the dashboard. ”

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