The Ethiopian Premier League season is set to commence amidst new circumstances, as organizers have been compelled to seek alternative accommodations due to unforeseen delays in the renovations of the historic Addis Ababa stadium. In a telling sign of ongoing construction challenges at the capital city venue, the EPL Share Company has announced that the 2023/24 campaign will now be hosted at the Adama University of Science and Technology stadium.
While the October 1 start date remains on schedule, the last-minute venue change means players and fans will take in the action at an unexpected location. The relocation was deemed a necessity by organizers striving to ensure a smooth launch of the new term, even as renovations at the preferred Addis Ababa site suffer postponements.
It was revealed that Phase one of the stadium renovations, underway for over two years, centered on constructing a grass pitch, dressing rooms, VIP lounge and media room.
An update was given on renovations underway at Addis Ababa Stadium. According to officials, grass seeds matching varieties typically found elsewhere on the continent were originally seeded.
However, according to evaluations by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ethiopian Football Federation and EPL Share Company experts, the turf was deemed below standard. With the field not up to scratch in time, a last-minute change was deemed prudent to shift fixtures to an alternative venue.
Per sources who spoke to The Reporter, the Ministry is now considering planting an alternative grass surface. Companies from Turkey and France have reportedly expressed interest in bidding for the new pitch installation.
Plans also include replacing the running track, infield section and incomplete seating tiers in a second phase of works. Over 22,000 seats have already been installed with the rest to follow stand construction.
This progress means clubs participating in both the EPL and CAF Confederation Cup could plausibly use the venue once work is complete. However, uncertainty remains around timelines as the Addis Ababa redevelopment remains in limbo.
For now, all eyes turn to Adama as Ethiopia’s top football clubs prepare to do battle at the University stadium between October 1 and November 25, while the complex renovations in Addis Ababa continue in the background.
Adding intrigue to the upcoming campaign, three clubs have earned promotion to the top flight. Gaining entry into the premier competition are Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Shashamene City and Hambricho Durame football clubs.
Kicking off the new season on October 1st, host Adama City will battle the newly promoted Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. Following suit, Sidama Coffee hosts another matchup facing Ethiopia Coffee on the opening day’s slate.
Action intensifies further on October 6th as Shashamene City challenges Woliata Dicha. In another debutante clash, Hambricho Durame take on Dire Dawa City.
With fresh blood infusing the league, supporters and neutrals alike can anticipate thrilling matches. The new additions are sure to inject excitement and unpredictable results as clubs jostle for position from the early going of what promises to be a tightly contested 2023/24 campaign.