Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Le Félicia)
|Stade Géo André
|Boulevard de la République, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny – stadium description
What is the history of Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny?
When was Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny built?
The stadium in the Plateau district, in the center of Abidjan, was built during the colonial era, in the 1930s. The facility was originally named Stade Géo André in honor of the versatile French athlete, winner of two Olympic medals in athletics.
When was Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny extended?
The stadium was extended in connection with the organization of the Friendship Games (Jeux de l'Amitié) in Abidjan in 1961, a competition that was a precursor to the later African Games. The stadium was the main venue for these Games. The facility was renamed Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, in honor of the (then incumbent) first president of Côte d'Ivoire, which gained independence in 1960.
As part of the modernisation, the stadium gained two new reinforced concrete stands along the pitch (designed by Louis Renard and Jean Sémichon). Reinforced concrete stands on the curves were added later.
What significant events have taken place at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny?
In 1984, Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny was one of the two venues (alongside the stadium in Bouaké) for the African Cup of Nations played for the first time in Côte d'Ivoire. Among other things, the final of this tournament was played in the stadium in Abidjan.
In February/March 2009, the venue hosted matches of the first edition of the African Nations Cup, a competition for footballers who play in their national leagues. As with the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations, some of the matches were also held at a stadium in Bouaké, and the final of the event was played at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny. The stadium was refurbished prior to the competition.
On March 29, 2009, before Ivory Coast's World Cup qualifying match against Malawi, a stampede developed among fans, resulting in the deaths of 19 people. On January 1, 2013, a similar tragedy occurred. This time, the stampede arose as people left the stadium after the New Year's fireworks display, and the death toll was even higher (61 people died).
In July 2017, Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the main arena for the 8th edition of the Francophone Games.
When did the last upgrade of Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny take place?
In 2014, Côte d'Ivoire was awarded the right to host the second African Cup of Nations in its history. The tournament was due to take place in 2021, but after the subsequent reshuffling of the hosts of several consecutive editions, the country will eventually host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, which, contrary to its name, will take place in early 2024 (from January 13 to February 11).
The competition is scheduled to take place at six venues, including the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny. In connection with the event, the stadium underwent a major upgrade. The renovation work, which cost 65.3 billion CFA francs, was carried out by the Portuguese company Mota-Engil between 2020 and 2023.
The facility was reinaugurated on October 13, 2023 by Sports Minister Claude Paulin Danho, and a friendly match between Ivory Coast and Morocco (1:1) was played at the stadium a day later. As part of the upgrade, the facility received, among other things, a new roof covering the entire auditorium, a decorative facade, and new seats in the stands. The work also included the replacement of the pitch and running track, refurbishment of the premises and changes to the surroundings.
What is the significance of Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny?
Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny has for years been the largest and most important stadium in the country. The venue is used for domestic football competitions on a daily basis and also hosts political rallies and concerts. The Ivorian national football team has often played at the stadium. Prior to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, however, a new, much larger national stadium was built on the outskirts of Abidjan between 2016 and 2020, taking over the role of the country's main stadium.
What does Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny look like?
Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny (also known as 'Le Félicia') is equipped with an athletics track, which is surrounded by reinforced concrete stands capable of holding 30,000 spectators. The stands are fitted with plastic seats in the colors featured on the Ivorian national flag. The main stand with boxes and back facilities is located on the west side. The stand on the opposite side is a bit lower than the others.
The auditorium is fully covered by a white membrane roof. A section of the roof above the main stand was used to install photovoltaic panels. Under the roof, floodlights have been installed (the lighting is also supported by two masts standing on the eastern side), as well as two video screens (on the curves). From the outside, the stands are surrounded by a decorative façade structure.
The venue is located in the Plateau district in the center of Abidjan, between de Gaulle Boulevard and Republic Boulevard, near the Bay of Cocody. In the immediate vicinity of the stadium is the National Assembly building and other government administrative facilities, as well as the French and Nigerian embassies.
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