Stade Omnisport Paul Biya
|Inauguration||03/09/2021 (Cameroon - Malawi, 2-0)|
|Construction||07/03/2017 - 2022|
|Cost||€ 240 million|
|Design||arch. Suarez – SHESA architects|
|Contractor||Gruppo Piccini, Magil Construction|
|Address||1 Olemb, Yaoundé, Cameroon|
Stade Omnisport Paul Biya – stadium description
Cameroon's largest arena is part of the Olembe sports complex, located in the northern part of Yaoundé (13 km from the city centre). The facility is named after the president of the country, Paul Biya.
Initially, the Cameroon government entrusted implementation of the investment to Gruppo Piccini, which on December 30, 2015 signed a contract for the construction of a sports complex. The works began 15 months after that date, more precisely on March 7, 2017, although the preparatory work lasted from 2016. The delay was caused by changes in the design and the necessity to pay compensations to local residents.
The stadium was to be completed in March 2019 at the latest, i.e. 3 months before the start of the AFCON 2019. However, the tournament was taken from Cameroon in November 2018 due to numerous slips in the implementation of projects and the terrorist threat.
It was decided that Cameroon would organise the competition in 2021, but later due to the pandemic, the games were postponed to 2022. Thanks to this, the contractor gained a lot of time to finalise the project.
The works themselves did not go smoothly, as there were numerous strikes and problems with financing the investment. The lack of satisfactory progress prompted the Cameroon officials to terminate the contract with the Italian company, what took place on November 29, 2019. The Canadians from Magil Construction entered the site shortly after.
Ultimately, the stadium was approved for use in August 2021, although it was not fully completed at the time, as well as the infrastructure around it. The arena was inaugurated on September 3, 2021, when the country's national team faced Malawi.
An oval stadium with an athletics track was built in the suburbs of the capital. The arena's roofing is a tensile structure, a solution based on pre-tensioned cables composing an external compression ring connected through radial cables to an internal tension ring, supporting a membrane. The roof measures 300 m x 245 m and its highest point is 46 m above the ground.
The rest of the venue structure consists of prefabricated concrete and steel elements. Auditorium is made up of single-tier stands, where the seats mostly form a mosaic in green and red, which is a clear reference to the Cameroon flag.
Some of the seats behind the goal are arranged in a yellow star pattern, and opposite the main stand are the seats that form the lion's head. The facade of the ground is covered with yellow, orange, red and blue scales-shaped metal panels.
A number of other facilities will be built around the arena. The most important of them include a shopping mall, a 4-star hotel with 70 rooms, 3 cinemas and two training pitches (both with 1000 seats). All of the above completes the first phase of construction of the Olembe complex.
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