Design & Development

Kagame opens new-look Amahoro Stadium

Images: Paul Kagame

Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, has officially opened the revamped Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, stating that the facility will aid the development of football in the East African country.

The Rwandan Government had originally said the new-look Amahoro Stadium would be officially inaugurated yesterday (Thursday) following a major redevelopment project which has seen its capacity almost double. However, the event was brought forward to Monday to avoid scheduling conflicts with events planned for the 30th anniversary of Rwandan Liberation Day.

Under renovation since the middle of 2022, Amahoro Stadium has seen its capacity increase from 25,000 seats to 45,000 through a project costing a reported RWF160bn (£95.5m/€112.9m/$122.2m). Along with Kagame, Monday’s ceremony was attended by the likes of Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe, with the Rwandan leader paying tribute to support from the latter, as well as FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

“Let me thank brother Patrice Motsepe of CAF and another brother, FIFA president Gianni Infantino,” said Kagame, according to The New Times. “Both of them inspired us to enhance our sports infrastructure.

“They have supported Rwanda and other African countries in elevating the standards of African football. At such venues, African children can train and showcase the great talent we have on our continent.”

Kagame spoke of the role world-class infrastructure such as the revamped Amahoro Stadium can play in nurturing local football talent. He continued: “This will allow us to raise more talent in our country instead of importing them from abroad.

“People will go where they want, but we will achieve something significant here because of our commitment. Today is a great day for Rwanda and football, and we will continue to improve. We must work hard and smart so that we are counted among the best on our continent.”

Monday’s ceremony was followed by the Amahoro Stadium Inauguration Trophy friendly match between Rwandan league champion APR FC and Peace Cup winner Police FC, which ended in a 1-0 win for the former.

Amahoro Stadium first opened in 1986 and its transformation project has been led by Turkish company Summa and Rwandan construction firm Real Contractors. It is located next to BK Arena, the 10,000-seat facility which opened in the summer of 2019 as the largest indoor arena in East Africa.

Motsepe said: “This is one of the best stadiums in Africa and in the world. We, as Rwandans and Africans, should be proud and thank President Kagame for providing us with such a facility.

“The next time I come here, I want to see the best of Rwanda team play against the best of Africa. With the available talent and continuous improvement, Rwanda will be one of the top teams on the continent.”