A one hundred and sixty thousands square foot of artificial turf which was recently removed from Douala Reunification Stadium to pave way for placement of natural grass ahead of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has been stolen and sold into black market.
In a scheme blamed on unscrupulous synthetic grass installers, tones of artificial turf has been taken out of the stadium premises for the last three days by motorcycle taxi men who have been carrying it away in broad day light.
Various football stakeholders in the country have been outraged by the activity among them a veteran journalist Nathaniel Njog who was first to spot the occurrences.
“The stadium construction is under administration of a new director but this grass was put by the Cameroonian Federation (Fecafoot) who are its owner,”said Njog.
The synthetic turf is in “fairly good condition” and dearly acquired will end up in the salons and courses of private homes in what Njog blames on carelessness of those who go to business for profit but not to perform an act of development.
“I fail to understand why this artificial turf which is in a good condition is being sold instead of being placed in small stadiums such as Wouri, Nkam, Moungo, Sanaga-Maritime which were recently approved to host the matches of the Division 2 Championship and possibly to be training stadiums for professional league clubs,”he added.
Non-punitive fines and punishment have partly fuelled vandalism of stadiums and other critical infrastructure in the country.
A spot check by the Soka25east showed that disused materials such as the ones around Omnisports Stadium have also been vandalised.
Douala Reunification Stadium which was built in 1972 is scheduled to be one of the training grounds for participating nations in the tournament that will be hosted in different cities of the Central African nation.
Cameroon has been struggling with infrastructural development “may lose out” as hosts of the 2019 African Cup of Nations.