Stade Amahoro

Capacity30 000
Country Rwanda
CityKigali
ClubsAS Kigali, Rayon Sports FC, Nyanza FC, Kiyovu SA, La Jeunesse FC
Inauguration 1964
Renovations 2011-2016

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Description: Stade Amahoro

Located in eastern Kigali, the ground lies close to the capital’s international airport. Built probably in 1960’s it underwent renovations at the turn of centuries and is supposed to reach capacity of 50,000 by 2016, opposed to current size of 30,000 spectators. Only the main stand is covered and equipped with seats, though the ground has floodlights and a giant screen.

In 1994 it witnessed shocking scenes, when the Tutsi tribe refugees were flocking the stadium, seeking shelter from raging Hutus. Approximately 12,000 people lived here for weeks. UN soldiers were there to safeguard their stay there, but the situation was critical. One of the peacekeepers described his view of the place in 1994 in his book:  “Twelve thousand people trying to live in here. So you get this latent smoke that hangs in here. All you see is people and clothes and so the place looks absolutely, totally out of control. It became, in probably the most pejorative way, something like a concentration camp. We were out there protecting them, but while we were out there, they were inside dying. And the stench, the stench was so powerful you actually had to force yourself not to puke or anything”.

The dark days make the venue’s name sound ironically as “Amahoro” is translated as “Peace”. Today it fits much more as footballers of national team and local clubs use the ground, as do other athletes and music stars (to name just Sean Kingston). The events of 1994 are also commemorated annually.

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