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Friday, April 25, 2008
Namibia's WC qualifiers in doubt over stadium

WINDHOEK, April 25 (Reuters) - Namibia claimed on Friday they might have to pull out of upcoming World Cup qualifiers unless FIFA inspectors pass fit the only available stadium in the capital Windhoek.

The Independence Stadium was declared unfit to host World Cup games by a FIFA inspection team last year. The reasons were not made public.

The recently built Sam Nujoma Stadium on the outskirts of the city is having an artificial pitch installed and is out of commission for several months.

It leaves Namibia facing the prospect of playing their Group Two home matches against Zimbabwe on May 31 and Guinea on June 14 on neutral territory.

But Namibia Football Association general secretary Barry Rukaro told Reuters they might not be able to afford the costs of playing at a neutral venue.

'Apart from losing home ground advantage, we are not sure if we can afford to play in a neighbouring country, which is an expensive logistical exercise,' he said.

'We are working with FIFA and the Namibia government to solve the problem but we are not hopeful,' he added.

Namibia are one of several African countries under similar threat unless last minute improvements of safety and security are made. FIFA will make a final check on May 7, Rukaro confirmed.

Also under threat of losing the right to host upcoming World Cup qualifiers are Benin, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Mali, Sierra Leone and Zambia, as FIFA clamp down on tatty facilities across the continent.




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