February is exceptionally successful for Senegalese football. First, at the beginning of the month, the Lions of Teranga won the Africa Cup of Nations, and literally a few days ago a new national stadium was inaugurated.
Turks responsible for construction
Stade du Sénégal with a capacity of 50,000 is the new home of the Senegalese national side. Its alternative name is Stade Abdoulaye Wade De Diamniadio, which is a gesture of appreciation for the former president of the country. Wade held the office from 2000 to 2012.
The grand opening took place on February 22, when FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added splendour to the ceremony. The presence of Erdogan was not accidental, as the stadium is the result of cooperation between two Turkish companies. It was designed by Tabanlıoğlu Mimarlık and general contracting was awarded to Summa İnşaat. The cost of the works amounted to XOF 156 billion (€238 million).
Construction began with the cornerstone laying ceremony that took place on February 20, 2020. The initial schedule assumed the completion of the venue after 17 months. Unfortunately, the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic caused significant delays, which resulted in the postponement of the deadline to 2022.
At the beginning of this month, the stadium was ready. This made the first match possible on February 22. It was an exhibition game, but on the pitch fans admired legends of Senegalese football, who faced no less famous former players from the rest of Africa.
The 30-minute sparring game ended with a score of 1-1, and almost 40,000 spectators were present in the stands. However, the real baptism of the stadium is to take place on March 29, during the game against Egypt in the playoffs for the 2022 World Cup. The most important event that awaits Stade du Sénégal in the coming years is the 2026 Youth Olympics.
Stadium as part of the 'city of the future'
Stade du Sénégal is located in Diamniadio, 30 km south-east of the country's capital. The aforementioned city has been in existence for a short time and aims to reduce the overpopulation of Dakar. The stadium was built on a rectangular plan with rounded corners. Its roof is covered with a membrane that protects all the stands against unfavourable weather conditions.
The building is well ventilated thanks to the airy facade made of intertwined metal panels. It is possible to illuminate them at night. The bowl-shaped auditorium was divided into two tiers. Interestingly, the stadium does not have an athletics track, which is rare in Africa.
The venue has 50 VIP boxes with a total capacity of 1,500. In addition, it can boast 1,664 seats in the press stand and 40 entrance gates for easy access for fans. The facility covers an area of 88,000 square metres and is 40 metres high at its highest point. The dimensions of the playing field are 105 x 68 m. Around the arena there are 3250 parking spaces and a small solar power plant.