THE renovation works at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam are over and the 60,000 capacity stadium is expected to be officially opened on November 21, this year.
This was confirmed yesterday in the city by the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, who inspected the stadium which was constructed in 2007.
Mwakyembe has since proposed that a special friendly match capable to bring about 60,000 spectators should be staged to officially reopen the stadium which has now put on a new face. “For a long time, our main challenge has been lack of consistency in preservation and maintenance of this beautiful stadium,” Mwakyembe noted.
He said it is high time that the six young men who worked closely with the American expert in upgrading the arena should be offered employment opportunities in order for them to provide regular maintenance works on the pitch when operational.
In his words, Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) president Wallace Karia said it is better if the experts could be sent to uplift standards of playing grounds found in different regions of the country where they can also impart the gained skills to others.
The National Stadium, which is mainly used as the home ground to Dar es Salaam based mainland premier league giants Simba SC and Young Africans, was temporarily closed after the Community Shield game between Yanga and Simba which saw total removal of the entire grasses on the pitch to pave a space for the new grasses.
The epic SportPesa Super Cup final which attracted England’s decorated side Everton FC and Kenya’s club Gor Mahia on June 12 this year, was also staged at the same stadium and managed to magnetize a good number of supporters both from Tanzania and Kenya who came to watch top class players like Wayne Rooney.
It was a good opportunity for Tanzania to stage such a high profile EPL team which stepped into East Africa territory for the first time such that in one way or the other, the cordial relationship that exist between Tanzania and the rest of EAC states was highly promoted.
The highest recorded attendance at the stadium was 70,000 people who descended at the venue to watch the traditional derby between Simba and Yanga on October 26, 2008.
With five main entrance gates, the stadium also has a car carrying capacity to accommodate 600 vehicles plus 114 closed-circuit Television cameras not forgetting a well furnished VIP lounge and an extended roof.
Until now, the National Stadium remains the largest playing field in the country and eleventh biggest in Africa which will actively be used for the upcoming Africa Youth Championship (AYC) to be held in the nation for the first time.