The venue for the decisive 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match between Nigeria and Ghana has been shifted to the Kumasi Yara Sports Stadium only nine days before the scheduled date. Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and Confederation of African Football (CAF) made the decision on Wednesday. This came after a joint team of FIFA and CAF inspectors visited Ghana’s second-largest city on Sunday to see if the facilities were up to par. The match has been moved from the original Cape Coast Stadium location to the Kumasi Yara Sports Stadium, following a report from the joint FIFA/CAF team.
The Ghana Football Association released the following statement;
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has granted a one match approval for Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi to host the World Cup Qatar 2022 play-off match between Ghana and Nigeria.
The approval comes after a CAF Licensing Inspector visited the Baba Yara Sports Stadium last Sunday to inspect the facility.
In a letter signed by CAF Development Officer, Raul Chipenda and sent to the General Secretary of the Ghana Football Association, Prosper Harrison Addo, Esq. and copied to FIFA, CAF stated that:
“Reference to the CAF stadium inspection conducted to Baba Yara Sports Stadium (Kumasi) for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoff round match, Ghana Vs. Nigeria scheduled for the 25th of March 2022, following the analysis of the report we have taken the following decision:
Grant a one-match approval for the use of Baba Yara Sports Stadium (Kumasi) in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoff round match Ghana Vs. Nigeria;
Upon conclusion of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 playoff round match, the stadium is automatically removed from the list of CAF approved stadiums and will only be approved for any subsequent CAF/FIFA international senior national teams matches and CAF men’s interclubs competitions following the implementation of all the CAF remarks”.
The letter further stated that the following conditions must be met before the match against Nigeria. They include:
– Installation of new international standard, modern and comfortable officials’ benches at pitch level;
– Adjustment of the floodlight intensity. A minimum of 1200 Lux should be provided all over the pitch, covering uniformly every area of the playing field;
Increase seating and lockers in the teams dressing rooms to reach (25) persons;
– Installation of completely new modern equipment and materials in the referees dressing rooms and ensure that is equipped with all the necessary materials and CAF requirements;
– Set up the water system to provide both cold and hot water in the teams and officials dressing room;
– General refurbishment of the CAF office, installation of modern desks and seats, including the necessary electronic and working equipment;
– VOC must be available and equipped with all the necessary equipment and requirements;
– Complete refurbishment of the media tribune, press conference room and media centre, installing new and modern equipment.
– In order to follow the progress of the above-mentioned works in the stadium, CAF will designate a stadium inspector to conduct an onsite assessment up till the day of the upcoming FIFA match.
CAF has indicated that an onsite stadium inspector will undertake additional assessments of the facilities until the day of the play, and that if the above-mentioned standards are not completed before the match, Ghana will face financial consequences.
The Baba Yara stadium will take the place of Cape Coast Stadium, which was supposed to host the match.
On Friday, March 25, 2022, at 19:30GMT, Ghana will face Nigeria in the first leg at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.