Macau, China, 7 April – In the same year as it will host the Olympic Games for the first time, China is also involved in construction projects for large sports facilities in Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde, to be inaugurated before 2010.
The most recent of these facilities to begin is the new Mozambique National Stadium, seating 40,000 people and which the Mozambican authorities hope to complete in time for the football World Cup in neighbouring South Africa, in order to receive participating teams and perhaps host preparatory games, thus attracting visitors to the country’s capital, Maputo.
This was point was made by Mozambican Finance Minister, Manuel Chang, last week, during a contract signing ceremony, with Chinese Ambassador, Tiang Guang Feng, adding that the new sports complex would provide Mozambican athletes with better conditions for practicing sports.
Located in Zimpeto, on the Estrada Nacional 1, the new stadium financed by China will cost nearly US$57million and has been negotiated over several years between the two countries.
Back in 2006, the Chinese and Mozambican authorities signed a memorandum of understanding, after a team of Chinese experts concluded that the Zimpeto site was the most advantageous compared to other sites in the Maputo suburbs of Marracuene, Matola and Boane that had also been considered.
This will be the first development of its kind to be built in Mozambique since its independence, and will be on a similar scale to that of the capital’s current stadium, Machava, built by the Portuguese colonial administration, that has a seating capacity of 45,000.
It will be the fourth large infrastructure that the Chinese government will build in the country, under the terms of its cooperation agreement with Mozambique.
In 15 years, this agreement has enabled the construction of the Parliament building and the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre, as well as the building that houses the Mozambican Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
The ceremony to lay the first stone for the Mozambique National Stadium is scheduled for April and the stadium is expected to be completed by July 2010.
Another stadium with the same expected completion date is also due to be completed by the same time, and promises to set the standard for its region: The new Cape Verde National Stadium with a seating capacity of 20,000.
According to recent reports in the Cape Verdean newspaper, Voz di Povo, the infrastructure will solve one of the big problems facing the Cape Verdean Football Federation (FCF) in hosting the national side’s international games – the lack of adequate conditions, particularly in terms of grass quality, at the stadium they usually use in Várzea.
Like Mozambique, Cape Verde also hopes to be able to gain from the organization of, or cooperation with, major national and international sporting events, such as the next rounds of the African Championship of Nations (CAN).
The stadium, which will be located in Monte Vaca, in the suburbs of Praia, will have an athletics track for use in various sports.
Work is hoped to begin in the next few months, with a view to being ready by 2010.
The opening of the biggest stadium built by Chinese companies in Portuguese-speaking Africa, is also scheduled for around the same time: that of Luanda, with a seating capacity of 50,000.
Construction of the new stadium, which is the main venue for CAN 2010, was awarded to China Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIC), in direct agreement with the Angolan government.
The consortium, which also includes British companies Urbinvest and Arup, led by architect Mario Sua Kay, will also build the Benguela Stadium which will have a 35,000 seat capacity. (macauhub)