Pharaonic revamp work of Madagascar Stadium begins

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Madagaskar National Stadium Image: Christopher Call Productions

Renovation work has begun on Madagascar’s Mahamasina Municipal Stadium (Stade Municipal de Mahamasina) in Africa. The redevelopment work will make the venue meet modern safety standards and will enable the facility to hold up to 40,000 spectators. The stadium is expected to be ready for use by the second quarter of 2021.

The stadium sits in the capital city of Antananarivo, and has been the scene of three fatal incidents since the turn of the century, the most recent one being in June 2019 when a stampede during a concert by popular local artist Rossy led to 15 people losing their lives.

Media reports stated that the first phase of the revamp work will run for six months ahead of the 60th anniversary of Madagascar’s Independence on June 26 this year. The two stands on either end of the pitch will be knocked down and replaced. The central grandstand will also be done away with and replaced.

The second phase will last 12 months and will see further improvisation work on the stands. A new pitch will also be set up. The stadium will be equipped with leading-edge infrastructure and technology and new floodlights will be put in place.

Media reports further stated that the price tag for the development will be $77m (£58.7m/€69.2m) and the entire tab will be picked up by the Madagascan Government. A tender to implement the project was won by the China State Construction Overseas Development, an ancillary unit of China State Construction Engineering Corporation.

Gérard Andriamanohisoa, Coordinator of the State-backed Initiative Emergence Madagascar, remarked, “It is the will of the President (Andry Rajoelina) to put football at the heart of the national project. It will also come with additional bleachers and the hybrid lawn with automatic watering.”

Stade Municipal de Mahamasina is home to Madagascar’s national football team Barea and has been renamed Stade Barea in honor of its exploits in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations wherein Madagascar advanced to the quarter-finals in its first-ever appearance at the tournament.

The stadium redecoration work is a long-standing project of the President of Madagascar, Andry Nirina Rajoelina. The whole development is expected to last for 18 months.

The pharaonic restoration work, to be borne by the Government, is expected to enhance the safety standards in the stadium. The enclosure has already experienced three deadly incidents.

The spruce-up work will bring a new security perimeter for the facility apart from new stands.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Barea coach Nicolas Dupuis stated similar views that the enclosure should be brought up to standard both in terms of efficiency and safety.

Few observers are cringing at the fact that a colossal sum is being used to build the stadium while the capital is reeling under severe outage and water cuts because of the dilapidated structure.

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