Senegal, winner of the last African Cup of Nations (CAN) and first in the FIFA ranking on the continent, now has a stadium to international standards, inaugurated Tuesday in jubilation in Diamniadio, about 30 km from Dakar.
Thousands of Senegalese travelled by bus or train to reach the 50,000-seat stadium, whose name was made official by President Macky Sall. Sport is a tool of diplomacy but also of national unity for President Macky Sall, who paid tribute to his predecessor Abdoulaye Wade.
“The unifying virtues of sport remind us that we are one nation. That is why I decided to name the stadium after my illustrious predecessor, President Abdoulaye Wade.”
The stadium is the only one approved by international bodies, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) having withdrawn its approval of the Lat Dior stadium, in the region of Thies (70 km from Dakar), in May 2021. This new stadium was built in a year and a half by the Turkish company Summa at a cost of 156 billion CFA francs (€238 million).
It is the second largest sports building in the country after the Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium (60,000 seats) built in 1985 in Dakar. The new construction is part of a dynamic to make Dakar “a sports hub” to avoid that matches are relocated to Asia, said Mbaye Jacques Diop, communication adviser of the Ministry of Sports.
The Senegal Stadium was officially inaugurated Tuesday afternoon by President Macky Sall, in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino among many other personalities.
The stadium will host the second leg of the Senegal/Egypt World Cup qualifier on March 29.