By Kennedy Gondwe
Teams might train in the stadium ahead of the 2010 World Cup
The Zambian and Chinese governments have signed an agreement for the construction of a 40,000-seater stadium in northern Zambia.
The signing ceremony follows a visit by a Chinese delegation to carry out feasibility studies at the construction site.
Delegation leader Zhang Zijun and Bizwayo Nkunika, the permanent secretary in Zambia’s ministry of works and supply, signed on behalf of the two governments.
The stadium, which will be constructed in Ndola in the Copperbelt province, will cost an estimated $70 million.
Sports minister Gabriel Namulambe said the country’s biggest-ever arena will be ready before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“The signing ceremony marks the beginning of the construction works,” he announced at the signing ceremony in Lusaka.
“This country will benefit from South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup if the stadium is completed.
“I am calling upon the private sector to come on board because we need a five-star hotel next to the stadium.”
Chinese ambassador to Zambia Li Qiangmin assured that the construction of the stadium would be completed before 2010.
But the signing ceremony will do little to cushion the nation’s current stadium crisis.
Fifa has declared the Independence Stadium in Lusaka unfit to host matches, and Zambia may have to play their 2010 World Cup home qualifiers outside the country.
A parliamentary committee has also recommended the razing down of the stadium.