By Walliey Christiano Mukena.
There has been calls for Zambia to host the Afcon after Cameroon was stripped off the rights to host the 2019 edition but can Zambia host the AFCON?
Here is the answer you need. Zambia is not anywhere ready to stage Africa’s biggest show piece but the possibility so light is there. Previously a country only needed four stadiums to host the Afcon but a country will now need eight, the very reason Cameroon has failed.
Coming back to statistics, CAF only recognises venues which have the minimum capacity of 25,000 to host an AFCON match. There are only three stadiums that have that capacity in Zambia. The rest are grounds. Before i come to that, the biggest stadium in Africa is the FNB in Johansberg Sounth Africa towering at a staggering capacity of 94,736. It is also ranked number one.
Here are the three stadiums capable of hosting an AFCON match in Zambia:
1. THE HEROES NATION STADIUM.
The Heroes stadium standing in the fallen shadows of the Zambian squad that perished along the port of Libreville in 1993 has the capacity of 60,000. It is the biggest stadium in Zambia. It is ranked number 16 in Africa.
2. THE LEVY MWANAWASA STADIUM.
The Levy Mwanawasa towers along the T3 High way cordinates 12 degrees 58’30” S and 28 degrees 36’41” E in Ndola. The stadium has a capacity of 49,800 and it is ranked number 30 in Africa.
3. THE INDEPENDENCE STADIUM
It is one of the oldest and biggest stadiums in Zambia but has been currently out of use due to some safety measures it has fallen short of. The stadium is ranked 108 in Africa and has the capacity of 30,000.
Other stadiums close to meeting the CAF standards in terms of capacity are: The Arthur Davies Stadium in kitwe with the capacity of 16,000
The Chilata Stadium in Kitwe with the capacity of 15,000
The Konkola Stadium in Chililabombwe with a capacity of 20,000 and the Woodlands stadium in Lusaka now upgraded to a capacity of 15, 000.
If Zanbia can upgrade one of the above grounds to the capacity of 26,000, Zambia will have four stadiums putting us in the position to co host. As for now it is not even possible to co host because to co host, we need four stadiums.