Stade Nelson Mandela

Capacity40 784
Country Algeria
Other names Grand Stade d'Alger, Stade de Baraki
Inauguration 07/01/2023
Construction 2009–2022
Cost €300 M ($322.7 M)
Contractor China Railway Engineering Corporation


Stade Nelson Mandela – stadium description

How was the new stadium in Baraki built?

Work on the construction of a large, football-specific stadium in the municipality of Baraki, in the southern suburbs of Algiers, began in 2004. The arena was designed by Tom Sheehan's architectural firm (ATSP) in collaboration with GLI, DVVD and ABDI. In December 2007, an international tender was launched for the construction of the stadium. In 2008, the Chinese company China Railway Engineering Corporation was announced as the main contractor.

The first information that emerged about the project indicated that the stadium would have a capacity of 60,000 spectators. The facility was also given the working name Grand Stade d'Alger. However, later reports indicated that the stadium would be smaller, eventually it became clear that it would hold around 40 000 spectators. Over time, the name referring to its location, Stade de Baraki, also became much more common.

Preparatory work on the site began in 2008, with the actual construction starting in 2009. The facility was to be ready in less than two and a half years and the investment cost was initially estimated at around € 100 million. However, the first problems arose right at the start of the project, for example, it turned out that the ground on which the stadium was to be built was of inferior quality to that originally envisaged, and that gas pipes ran underground at the location designated for the stadium, posing a safety risk.

The anticipated construction time and cost proved to be unrealistic. Further obstacles emerged during the course of the project, such as problems with the availability of suitable building materials and the financial crisis caused by the fall in oil prices in 2014. Although the construction had no major stoppages, the work progressed very slowly. In 2016, the large truss roof structure was lifted up, which was one of the biggest challenges during development.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, visiting the construction site at the end of 2018, spoke in stern terms about the progress and demanded that the work be completed quickly. However, subsequent deadlines were postponed, with the COVID-19 pandemic still looming along the way. In the end, the investment was only able to be completed before the African Nations Championship, scheduled for early 2023. The cost at the end had risen to around €300 million.

When was the new stadium in Baraki opened?

The inauguration of the facility took place on January 7, 2023, with a friendly match between the national teams of Algeria and Ghana (0:0), preparing for the African Nations Championship, being played at the opening. This tournament, for national teams made up exclusively of players playing in their home leagues, will be held in four stadiums in Algeria, from January 1 to February 4, 2023, with the stadium in Baraki hosting among others the opening match and the final.

The investment, led by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, was one of four major stadium constructions carried out in Algeria over a similar period. Almost in parallel, stadiums were also being built in Douera (another suburb of Algiers), Tizi-Ouzou and Oran, incidentally all of which also experienced significant delays. Stade Nelson Mandela opened as the country's first large, modern and football-specific venue.

Who is the new stadium in Baraki named after?

Shortly before the stadium's inauguration on December 20, 2022, it was announced that it would be named after the South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela (there had previously been reports that former Algerian national team coach Abdelhamid Kermali was to be the patron).

What are the characteristics of Stade Nelson Mandela?

The stadium has a pitch with natural turf, surrounded on all sides by two-tier, gently contoured stands. Different coloured seats with backrests are installed in the auditorium. The capacity of the stadium is 40 784 spectators. The main stand is located on the south side.

The facility has a fairly high number of VIP seats (over 6,700), as well as boxes or seats for journalists. There are two video screens behind the gates. The stadium is equipped with changing rooms, a conference room, media rooms, TV studios, medical offices, hotel rooms, restaurants, kiosks and toilets.

The building takes an oval form and is surrounded by an elevated promenade. The stands are fully covered by a roof, which is supported by a huge truss structure that rests on four pillars standing on the stands behind the goals (two on each side). A section of free space remains between the roof and the upper edge of the auditorium. Under the roof, floodlights have been installed.

The canopy and its huge truss are some of the most striking features of the stadium. From the outside, the stands are enclosed and topped by a façade with horizontal white stripes and glazing. The original form of the facility may, with its features, bring to mind some of Portugal's Euro 2004 arenas. The stadium's surroundings include a training pitch and car parks.

The facility was built on a site previously occupied by farmland, along one of the main roads connecting the centre of Algiers with the international airport. The plan was to create a whole complex around the stadium, including a swimming pool and an athletics track, as well as residential and commercial facilities, a park and a train station on the nearby railway line. However, these plans have not yet been implemented.

Who will Stade Nelson Mandela serve?

The stadium was not built with a specific team in mind, but it is assumed that one or more clubs from the conurbation will play their matches there. CR Belouizdad, USM Alger and USM El Harrach are mentioned as potential candidates to use the facility. It is also likely that the country's national team will often play at the stadium.



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