• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Interesting facts to know about 2023 AFCON stadiums

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Big cities in Ivory Coast will come alive today January 13 as the much talked about 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicks off in six stadiums across the southern coast of West Africa.

The tournament was postponed to 2024 due to the adverse summer weather concerns in Ivory Coast, and now the African nation is set to stage the 34th edition of AFCON in four brand new stadiums and two renovated grounds.

A total of 24 teams will collide in the biggest football tournament in Africa. Five cities namely: Abidjan, Bouaké, Korhogo, San-Pédro and Yamoussoukro will host all the matches in Ivory Coast.

Here, BusinessDay takes a look at all the six stadiums where all 52 matches will be played.

Alassane Ouattara Stadium

Alassane Ouattara Stadium, popularly known as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé, the 60,000-seater capacity arena is in one of the country’s economic hubs in the city of Abidjan. The Olympic Stadium of Epimbe will play host to the opening match and the final of the 2023 AFCON.

Additionally, all the Super Eagles Group A matches will be played at the stadium and last sixteen, quarter-finals and semi-finals matches.
The stadium was renovated in 2016 and was completed within four years to host matches for the 2023 AFCON.

According to FourFourTwo, the stadium and the infrastructure around it cost an estimated $260 million.

In addition to its large hosting capacity, the Olympic Stadium is a multi-purpose venue that boasts several world-class amenities such as an athletics track, conference facilities, gyms, auditorium and VIP.

Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium

The Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, which is also known as “Le Félicia”, is located in the centre of Abidjan. It used to be the main stadium for the national team until the Olympique Alassane Ouattara stadium was built.

Named after the founder of Cote D’Ivoire and the nation’s first Head of State, President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, one of the country’s heritage venues will play host to Africa’s biggest event for the second time, having been one of the two host venues back in 1984.

In line with meeting the required CAF Standards, the stadium is undergoing complete renovations to its structural set-up, seating, pitch, dressing rooms and hospitality suites.

The seating capacity has doubled to 33,000 ahead of the tournament, along with other facility upgrades to the venue.

In addition to football, the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium boasts an athletics track and has also hosted several major sporting codes and events in Abidjan.

Laurent Pokou Stadium

San Pedro Stadium, situated in the culturally rich Poro region is a stunning architectural structure that is part of the infrastructure legacy of hosting the 2023 AFCON.

The Poro region, covering about 23.33 hectares of land, the stadium’s elegant design with world-class facilities which include a state-of-the-art natural grass pitch, conference centres, a media centre and other facilities that will drive economic activity after the final whistle is sounded.

This ground is one of the newly built venues for the tournament, which has 20,000 fully covered seats. The stadium is named after Laurent Pokou, the Ivorian football legend who has scored 14 goals in the AFCON (a record until 2008). He also gives his name to the official match ball of the tournament.

Building work commenced in April 2019 and was finished in September 2023 and will stage eight matches during the duration of the tournament.

Charles Konan Banny Stadium

is located in Yamoussoukro and is constantly abuzz with economic activity, the newly built arena forms part of the city’s monumental architecture and will add to the city’s economic activity during the tournament.

After a two-year construction, the stadium hosted its first football match on 3 June, which served as the venue for qualifiers for the 2023 AFCON finals as the hosts edged Zambia 3-1 at the grand opening.

The stadium, which has room for up to 20,000 spectators, was planned to be built in 24 months, but this one also took longer because of Covid. A lot of local workers were employed to work on the stadium as the idea was to give local people a job. After the AFCON the stadium will be used for local football teams. The Charles Konan Banny Stadium will stage eight matches during the duration of the tournament including all group stage matches in Group C.

Peace Stadium

The Stade La Paixz, commonly called Peace Stadium is one of the most iconic stadiums in Ivory Coast.

The stadium is located in the nation’s second-largest city of Bouake and will be hosting its second Africa Cup of Nations after being one of the host venues back in the 1984 edition of the tournament.

One of the venue’s most memorable events includes the dramatic semi-final 5-4 penalty win by Cameroon against Algeria in the 1984 AFCON where the Indomitable Lions went on to claim the title.

A big renovation took place in June 2019 and was completed in March 2023 when the stadium hosted several matches.

After the renovation, the stadium now holds a capacity of around 40.000 with decorated green, white and orange seats representing the national flag of Ivory Coast.

The newly upgraded stadium will host all the group stage matches in Group D and also the last sixteen, quarterfinals and semifinal matches.

Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium

This venue is one of the four grounds which has been newly built. The stadium is named after the late Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who served from 2017 to 2020. He died in office in July 2020 and shortly after it was decided to name the stadium after him.

A total of seven matches including All the group stage matches in Group E will be played at the 20,000-seater capacity stadium.