Jintao launches National Stadium
By Guardian reporter
Visiting Chinese president Hu Jintao launched a state of the art 60,000-seat ultra-modern National Stadium in Dar es Salaam after construction works attained completion, yesterday.
The Chinese President handed over the stadium to his host President Jakaya Kikwete at a brief but colourful ceremony that was also attended by former president Benjamin Mkapa.
The new stadium whose construction started in 2006, has attained completion stage for its first phase with a football pitch ready for use.
The remaining part of the construction works will include a swimming pool with a capacity to hold 10,000 spectators, cricket pitch and indoor games venues.
The stadium now named as, National, had its construction cost amounting to $ 56.4-million, with Chinese Government contributing $ 33.4 million and the balance by Tanzania Government.
Though several soccer matches have been staged there, the official launching was yet to be done until yesterday when visiting President Jiantao concluded the mission.
The old national stadium has been renamed as the Uhuru (Independence) Stadium.
This is Tanzania`s biggest ever stadium that has exceeded seating capacity over the rest of stadiums in the likes of CCM Kirumba, Gombani and Amaan of Mwanza, Pemba and Unguja, respectively.
It is the only one with super lighting and super screen display system.
The construction of the stadium was a capital pledge made by former president Benjamin Mkapa whose tenure ended in 2005 before president Jakaya Kikwette took over the reign.
The National Stadium has been a huge motivation and has actually inspired soccer fans to turn up for matches in huge numbers as contrasted to the past.
The first match to be staged at the stadium was between Uganda and Taifa Stars way back in September 2007, a week ahead of African Nations Cup qualifier against Mozambique running for the 2008 finals in Ghana.
Since then the stadium has been infrequently used by special matches including the African Nations/World Cup qualifiers running for 2010 World Cup in Angola and South Africa, respectively. Stars have already crashed out.
- SOURCE: Guardian