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N3bn Pantami stadium Gombe in dire need of maintenance

The once glittering 12,000 capacity Gombe international stadium Pantami built and commissioned in 2010 by the administration of former governor Danjuma Goje at a whopping…

The once glittering 12,000 capacity Gombe international stadium Pantami built and commissioned in 2010 by the administration of former governor Danjuma Goje at a whopping cost of over 3 Billion Naira is presently begging for urgent government attention.

The edifice which boasts of three major facilities namely a synthetic football pitch, a tartan track for athletics and a gymnasium was constructed to promote and enhance sports development in the state.

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Interestingly, being a sporting complex of international standard, Pantami stadium literally became the hub of sports in the north-east, taking over what was the exclusive reserve of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa stadium, Bauchi.

Apart from serving as the home ground of Gombe United football club and FC Yarmalight, Pantami stadium had hosted other national events like the National League Super 4, Aiteo Cup group stages, Seyi Akunwumi under U-13 North East Championship as well as the National Sports Festival’s North-East Zonal qualifiers among other.

Even as the Pantami stadium is used mostly for football matches and other sporting events like athletics, it also plays host to ceremonial activities, such as religious, political and social events.

However, after only ten years of existence, the facility once considered to be one of the most modern sports centres in the country is gradually becomin a shadow of its old self due to lack of maintenance.

The allure associated with it is fast disappearing.

Our Correspondent who visited the sports complex observed that the environment in and around the stadium was bushy just as the playing pitch in the main bowl was in a bad condition.

It was further observed that most buildings which serve as offices are in dire need of renovation and the fence which is supposed to protect the facility from intruders is crumbling.

Thus, the long fence is supported by planks to prevent it from falling down.

Although the sports complex is fitted with a borehole and big generators, they appear to be out of use.

Consequently, the stadium can no longer boast of stable electricity and water supply, making it difficult for the toilets, air conditioners and scoreboard to function optimally.

When contacted, the Chairman of Gombe State Sports Commission, Alhaji Adamu Soye confirmed to Trust Sports that the stadium which has not been renovated since it was commissioned in 2010 is in dire need of renovation.

He also said even as the stadium lacks stable electricity and water supply, it can still host local and even international competitions.

Soye, therefore, appealed to the state government to consider linking the Pantami stadium with the Dadin-kowa water dam to help solve the problem of water supply.

On the issue of electricity, the Chairman said since the source of power is highly unreliable, the stadium makes use of power generating sets whenever it is hosting a big event.

“The truth of the matter is that the stadium complex needs urgent attention because it has not undergone any renovation since it was built and commissioned ten years ago.

“However, no wall in the stadium is falling down. But there are cracks in some of the buildings and we have written to the ministry of Housing and Tourism who are responsible for all state buildings.

“This is not to say we cannot host any competition.

“Most of the facilities are still in good order and can be used even at a short notice.

“Another challenge is that the electronic scoreboard is programmed in Chinese language which makes it very difficult for it to be operated.

“To make it worse, it has been destroyed by rain since it is not well protected,” he said.

Soye, therefore, appealed to the governor of the state,Alhaji Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya to kindly earmark funds for the sports commission to renovate some sections of the stadium that are fast decaying.

He also called on the government to look into the abandoned Abubakar Umar Memorial stadium located along Dukku road to ease pressure on the Pantami stadium.

Speaking to Trust Sports, the pioneer Executive Chairman of Gombe State Sports Commission and proprietor of FC Yarmalight, Malam Farouk Yarma acknowledged that the stadium needs attention but said it is still in shape to host competitions.

He said in view of Nigerian’s poor maintenance culture, those managing the sports facility deserve commendation.

“I don’t think the stadium is abandoned.

“That is where Gombe United and FC Yarmalight play their matches.

“It is still functional.

“The facility managers are doing their best.

“Since the Sports Commission and some of the sports associations moved their offices to the complex, the stadium is always a beehive of activities.

“However, the last time I was there, I noticed that there was a lack of water.

“They have to look into that because water is very essential and the stadium will function better with it,” he said.

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