A new 60,000-seat stadium has opened on the outskirts of Abidjan, Ivory Coast ahead of the country’s staging of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in 2023.
The Stade Olympique Ebimpé, which has been built by Chinese firm Beijing Construction Engineering Group, hosted its first match on Saturday as Asec Mimosas faced off against Africa Sports. The stadium inauguration also included a fireworks display and music performances.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara was at the match, which attracted around 50,000 fans in total. Mask-wearing was required among spectators.
The stadium, which took four years to build, becomes the largest in the country, replacing the 50,000-seat Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan. The stadium has been built at a cost of 143bn CFA francs (£198m/€218m/$256m), according to the APA news agency.
The stadium complex will also include an ‘Olympic city’, a four-star hotel and a sports medicine research centre.
Ivory Coast was originally due to host the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations but will now stage the 2023 edition. Other host stadiums are also under construction in Korhogo, Yamoussoukro and San-Pédro.
The Stade Olympique Ebimpé will host the opening and closing matches of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.