The Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi Stadium, a major regional sports centre in Woldia, Ethiopia, covering 177,000 square metres, was inaugurated on January 14th, 2017 by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Sheikh Mohammed, born in Dessie, was raised in Woldia which is 315 miles from the capital city, Addis Ababa. He said, “The community here has a very special love of sport. This stadium is my gift to the people of Woldiya.”
At the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Desalegn, accompanied by Amhara Regional President Gedu Andargachew, called on other investors to follow in the Sheikh’s footsteps. He said that the involvement of the private sector and the public in meeting the national objective of having state-of-the-art sports facilities for the people was crucial.
Financed by the Sheikh, the sports centre is significant in being a project that was entirely developed by Ethiopians for Ethiopians without requiring external support. Ten different MIDROC Technology companies were involved in the construction and around 95% of the raw materials were supplied by MIDROC Ethiopia. The construction was carried out by Huda Real Estate on a budget of just under 568bn Ethiopian Birr (approximately US$22m) with some financial commitment on specific projects by the local community. It has provided 800 local job opportunities over the last four and a half years during its construction.
The stadium has a seating capacity of 25,600 with an eight lane athletics track, ground tennis court, basketball court, Olympic size swimming pool, volleyball field, handball field and guest house. It has an all-round canopy with a polycarbonic cover, the first roofed stadium in the country, and it meets all FIFA and IAAF requirements. There are ten entrance gates, four dressing rooms, 156 floodlights, two scoreboards, modern sound amplification, eight sound proof press rooms, VIP lounge, state of the art drainage system, parking lots, internet and telephone services, automatic fire extinguishers and 36 water tanks.
The first competitive game was staged almost immediately, on January 15th, when local football team Woldia took on on Dire Dawa Ketema in Week 11 of the Ethiopian Premier League. The importance of the stadium build is that an African company has proved that it can acquire the skills and technologies to build these kinds of projects. This is a statement about Africa’s ability to meet its own needs in the years to come. The Government is committed to building up its sports sector to encourage health and fitness as well as community cohesion with the expectation that Ethiopia will become a leading destination for international sports tourism, especially in football and athletics.