Mushrooming of Modern Stadiums in Ethiopian Cities

I want to congratulate Bahirdar City and the Amhara Regional Government for their successful compellation of the construction of such a modern and wonderful stadium that definitely meets the European standards. This stadium is the first of its kind in this country as it will provide the country to host international competitions of any kind. The stadium is believed to accommodate more than 50, 000 crowds comfortably. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I watched the Opening ceremony of All Ethiopian Games at Bahirdar national stadium on Television. The stadium is so magnificent and it is difficult believe that it is in Ethiopia. I am very much impressed by the racing tracks around the football pitch. Truly speaking, everything about the stadium has amazed me a lot.

The construction and expansion of sport facilities such as this stadium will help to produce competent sportsmen and women who will represent the country at the international level and win trophies tomorrow.

Very recently, we are witnessing the construction of stadiums mushrooming in some cities and towns in this country. In this regard, Nekemte town has taken the first initiation in constructing a modern stadium in Oromia Region, and it has been reported that almost 90% the construction of stadium has so far been completed. The stadium will have the capacity of accommodating more than 30,000 people. The construction of the stadium is a great success story for Nekemte Town, a commercial hub of western Oromia.

What is more, Hawassa City in the South Region is diligently working to realize the completion of a national stadium which is expected to seat 45,000 spectators. Recent reports by the city council reveal that 50% of the stadium’s construction has been done so far. According to the schedule put in place, Hawassa City’s stadium will be completed in 2015. Mekele and Woldia are also busy constructing their own stadiums that will enable them to host international games.

However, other big cities including Addis Ababa itself are seen doing very little in this regard. It is surprising to see Addis Ababa, the capital, becoming a bystander when cities half of its age are becoming the owners of modern stadiums. Recently, we heard that Addis Ababa was planning to construct a stadium that matches its name. We also saw the design of the stadium to be built displayed, but we don’t have current information about what exactly is being done to make the stadium a reality.
It seems that Addis is happy with its two old, stinky and below standard stadiums as we see the city making no or little efforts in realizing the construction of stadium that is of international standard. It is a shame for a city that boasts itself being the seat of continental and international organizations not to have a single modern stadium of its own.

What Bahirdar and Nekemte have achieved so far in making such magnificent stadiums a reality is a wake-up call for cities such as Adama, Shashamne, Dire Dawa, Harar, Jimma, Bushoftu and others that appear not to wake up very soon of course. Particularly, Adama City has kept silent and the city council has put forward no realistic plan to build a modern stadium of its own. I think it is high time for Adama City Council and Oromia Regional State to build a stadium of high standard that fits the people in the region.

I believe that if the cities’ administrators get committed and mobilize resources effectively and move the society to contribute their shares, it will be easy for our cities to be the owner of modern and grand stadiums. Indeed, that is what we learn from the experiences of Bahirdar and Nekemte. ‘If there is will, there is way’ as the saying goes.

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