By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
African football has been in the news again for the wrong reasons as a video is circulating on social media showing Burkina Faso players changing their clothes on the field at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Algeria ahead of last Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup qualifier, raising concerns over the condition of the facility to host international games.
Reports have it that Burkina Faso players refused to use the dressing rooms before their final training session because of the dismal state of the facilities.
There has also been complaints about the state of the pitch, a power cut during the session as well as the dilapidated dressing rooms.
Ironically, Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi recently gave his full backing to a recent decision by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to issue stadium bans for various countries.
The reigning African champions played Burkina Faso in the Moroccan city Marrakech and not the Stallions’ home stadium in Ouagadougou.
This came after CAF, under new president Patrice Motsepe, ruled that Burkina Faso was one of eight countries whose stadiums were deemed unfit to host international matches.
“Countries that can’t host national teams should play elsewhere,” said Belmadi ahead of the game.
“It’s a radical decision, and it should not be an eternal one. We have to upgrade stadiums around the continent. I’m happy that since Motsepe has come into office, he’s put a lot of importance on the stadiums that we play in.”
While the refurbishing of the Mustapha Tchaker stadium has been promised regularly for many years, it is yet to start.
“The pitch, the changing rooms were a cause for concern and one wonders if they do meet FIFA requirements. In the rain and with temperatures not exceeding 12 degrees, the team opted to change on the pitch before their training session, refusing to use the changing rooms which are in a bad state,” a Burkina Faso official said.
At a time when the development of infrastructure is one of the priorities of CAF, Algeria seems to remain on the sidelines of this project and faces the possibility of a stadium ban by the continental football governing body.