The Ethiopian Sports Commission signed an agreement with Friends Engineering PLC on Thursday, June 17, 2021 to renovate Addis Ababa stadium.
According to a statement from the Commission, the renovation will be based on Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards, which include the pitch, dressing room, bathrooms, electrical and sanitation works. The commission said that Friends Engineering won the bid to renovate the stadium at a cost of 39,644,748 birr. The commission announced that the project is expected to be completed in a short time but it did not specify the exact project duration.
It can be recalled that the oldest stadium in the country could not fulfill CAF’s standards to host a match due to outdated facilities, forcing CAF to ban the stadium from holding international games.
Hence, Bahir Dar international stadium is the only stadium recognized by the African football governing body as able to host international matches. It is to be recalled that only five Betking EPL games were held in Addis Ababa stadium. In this regard, the EPL share company urged the Commission to renovate the stadium.
Meanwhile, Sports Commission Commissioner, Elias Shikur pointed out that the stadium will host several international matches, including the Betking EPL next year. He said the commission is ready to provide the necessary support to complete the renovation on time.
The renovation work will continue according to existing designs and will be renovated into two phases. The second phase of renovation includes the media room, tribune seat, and other parts of the stadium.
Addis Ababa stadium was constructed in 1940 and hosted various matches in the 1962, 68 and 76 African Cup of Nations, including the final in 1962 (won by Ethiopia).
Later in 1999, it was renovated for the 2001 CAF African Youth Championships held in Ethiopia. In this championship, Ethiopia’s National Youth team finished fourth, qualifying for the first time for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championships that took place in Argentina.
It is to be recalled that the then Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Chinese State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC) signed an agreement for the construction of a new 60,000 seat stadium, named Adey Ababa.
Initially, the budget allotted for the construction of the project was USD 100 million. However, as the project continues to lag behind schedule, costs are expected to rise. The stadium has a parking space that accommodates 10,000 cars at a time.