Abuja National Stadium is an all-seater national sports stadium located in Abuja City. The stadium serves as a home to the Nigerian National Football Team, the Super Eagles, as well as a center for various social, cultural, and religious events. The Federal Government of Nigeria approved the contract for the construction of the National Stadium complex and Games Village on July 18th 2000. The stadium was constructed to host the 8th All Africa Games which took place in October 2003. The 60,491 seater ultra modern multipurpose sports complex has been tagged by many as one of the greatest architectural
The Abuja Stadium meets the requirements of the International safety standards; it is equipped with emergency service units, closed circuit security cameras as well as crowd control steel fencing. There are also stand-by fire fighting equipment and metal detectors which have been put in place in case of any mishaps.
Construction and Architecture
The contract for the design of the stadium was awarded to Schlaich Bergermann & Partners, a world-renowned structural engineering firm based in Stuttgart, Germany. They were responsible for the architectural design, execution planning, as well as constructional supervision of the stadium. The construction was done in co-operation with a local engineering firm that has served the country for decades. Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, a subsidiary of Bilfinger Berger AG, was responsible for the construction of the main stadium, providing man-power, supplies, and equipment for the execution of the project. The contract for the construction of the Games Village, a comprehensive housing facility for visiting athletes, was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
All facilities within the stadium are designed and engineered in compliance with the requirements of international sport associations, particularly the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
The International Federation of Association Football, commonly known by its French acronym, FIFA , is the international governing body of association football. Its headquarters are in Zürich, Switzerland, and its current president is Sepp Blatter...
(FIFA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations
International Association of Athletics Federations.
The International Association of Athletics Federations is the international governing body for the sport of athletics. It was founded in 1912 during a war, at its first congress in Stockholm, Sweden by representatives from 17 national athletics federations as the International Amateur Athletics.
The Stadium itself comprises of:
60,491 capacity covered main bowl
Presidential suite and viewing Area
56 corporate suites
Two scoreboards and floodlights
Shops and kiosks for snacks
A standby power supply system
3000 capacity indoor sports hall
2000 capacity gymnasium
2000 capacity swimming pool
4000 vehicle capacity public parking lot
One artificial lake
3000 capacity hockey stadium
400 capacity VIP car park
Baseball and softball complex
History of the Stadium
Although Nigeria had several stadiums scattered throughout the country, there was a lack of stadiums that met international standards. Abuja City, was selected to host the 8th All Africa Games in 2000 (a regional multi-sport event held every four years, organized by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA)) despite having no facilities for such a major sporting event.
The Federal Government of Nigeria embarked on a multi-million dollar project for the construction of a state-of-the-art stadium and games village to be completed in time to host the All Africa Games. The contract was awarded on the 18th of July, 2000 from a choice list of about 80 different bidders. Construction of the complex was initiated.
Citizens and athletes had doubts as to whether the completion of the stadium was feasible before the games.
However, construction went very smoothly and ended up being ahead of schedule. As a matter of fact, the stadium was scheduled to be the host center for the Miss World Beauty Pageant that took place later in 2002. Unfortunately, the stadium not being fully completed by then as well as an uprising amongst citizens forced the pageant to relocate to London, England. The construction of the main bowl went on from its inception in September 2000 to its completion in April 2003, well in time for the games. The Games Village construction went on from September 2000 to August 2003.
The official commissioning of the complex was on the 8th of April, 2003. Following its commissioning was the final leg of preparations for the games. The games that year were the largest in All Africa Games history; 6000 athletes from 53 countries competed in 22 sports, watched over by 1200 officials. Over 1500 journalists reported for the world's media. The games took place from the 4th to the 18th of October 2003 and was deemed successful by many. The host country, Nigeria, accumulated a total of 226 medals, emerging as leader of the games that year.
Apart from the All African Games, the stadium has hosted important football matches, such as World Cup qualifiers between Nigeria and other countries. The first game played at the stadium was a football (soccer) match between two local rival teams; the Shooting Stars of Ibadan and Sunshine Stars of Akure on the 8th of April, 2003.
The first goal scored in the complex was from Shooting Stars' striker Shakiru Lawal who scored the only goal of the game after just five minutes.
The complex has given the country confidence to bid for various up-coming international events. The Federation of International Volleyball (FIVB) has given the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF) the provisional hosting rights of the 2007 World Youth Championship because of the facilities the stadium has
Apart from its function as a sports center, the Abuja Stadium serves as a venue for cultural and religious events. Its capacity attracts various events such as concerts, and religious conferences, events which sometimes have preference over sports. Nigeria is a highly religious country with a population split almost equally between Christianity and Islam. Due to this fact, several religious events occur each year that attract a lot of citizens and require a large capacity arena. For example, in September 2006, the Nigeria Football Association was rendered helpless over the Presidency's preference of a religious event in the main bowl of the Abuja Stadium to an international football match against Rwanda.
Some citizens are however concerned about the use of the stadium for such large events. Similar events held at the National Stadium in Lagos resulted in its degeneration. The management of the stadium, however, intends to keep these events coming. The cost of maintenance is an issue and renting out the facility for various events is a strategy that has been employed to cover these costs.
Several issues have arisen concerning the maintenance of the sports complex. The National Stadium in Lagos, the most populous and industrialized city in the country, was built for the 1972 All Africa. Though it initially was considered state-of-the-art, it today is considered below standard, in terms of facilities and environmentally. The Nigerian sports boss Amos Adamu advised the government to privatize the Abuja stadium immediately after the 2003 All-Africa Games in order to maintain its standards and avoid the vandalisation typical of public buildings.
The federal government of Nigeria, who owns 100% equity on the property at the moment, has faced a lot of antagonism both locally and internationally. The average estimate for annual maintenance since its inauguration has been about $7 million, a number considered high by many standards.
Due to the high cost of maintenance, the federal government has been seeking options for privatization of the facility. Through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the Federal Government of Nigeria intends to grant a concession to a sole Concessionaire who will enter into an investment commitment, and essentially operate the stadium with a primary goal of generating revenue from the proceeds of sporting events, concerts, religious activities, corporate sponsorship, corporate advertising and other promotional activities.
The Concessionaire has the choice of assuming the role of Facility Manager for the property encompassed in the National Stadium and the Indoor Sports Complex, or employ a firm to perform the task. The BPE will act as the monitor in the arrangement. The Concessionaire will be required to report to the federal government through the BPE. A minimum tenure of 20 years has recommended, subject to review every five years. Maintenance of the Stadium and its external areas will be the responsibility of the Concessionaire.