Tanzania’s national stadium in the city of Dar es Salaam has been renamed in honour of Benjamin Mkapa, the former president of the country who recently passed away.
The venue, which opened in 2007 and has a capacity of 60,000, will now be known as Mkapa Stadium. The new name was announced by current president John Magufuli during Mkapa’s state funeral at the nearby Uhuru Stadium.
The stadium serves as the home of Tanzania’s national football team and also hosts matches in the Premier League club competition.
“Mkapa loved sports and I know that Tanzanians will never forget him for doing a great job, leading to the construction of the stadium,” Magufuli said, according to Tanzanian newspaper The Daily News.
“Many people want the stadium to be renamed after Mkapa. I know Mkapa was not interested to tag things after his name but because I have received many messages and that he cannot resist it, I now declare the venue as Mkapa Stadium.”
Wallace Karia, president of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), had recommended that the stadium be named after Mkapa, who served as president from 1995 to 2005, so that “upcoming generations should always remember him”.Karia added:
“We are fortunate to have such a magnificent stadium, which is the best in East and Central Africa. Most of the countries in Africa do not have (such a stadium) but we have it courtesy of the late Mzee Mkapa.
“I believe that by the time he decided to construct the stadium, he realised that football is now a major source of revenue generation and employment to players, who are making money to support their lives through football.”
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