Magufuli renames stadium after Mkapa
Tanzania’s National Stadium in the capital Dar es Salaam has been renamed after former President Benjamin Mkapa. Mkapa passed away last week after a short illness at the age of 81.
Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli announced the renaming of the stadium during Mkapa’s funeral service at Uhuru Stadium in the coastal city on Tuesday.
“Mkapa loved sports and I know that Tanzanians will never forget him doing a great job, leading to the construction of the stadium,” Magufuli said.
“Many people want the stadium to be renamed after Mkapa. I know Mkapa was not interested to tag things after his name because I have received many messages, I now declare the stadium as Mkapa Stadium.”
The fallen Head of State promised in 2000 to build a state-of-the-art stadium before the end of his tenure in 2005.
The Stadium was opened in 2007, built by Beijing Construction Engineering group.
It has since hosted several high profile matches including an international friendly pitting Kenya’s Gor Mahia and English Premier League club Everton.
“We are fortunate to have such a magnificent stadium which is the best in East and Central Africa,” added Magufuli.
“Most countries in Africa do not have such kind of the stadium but we have it courtesy of the late Mkapa.
“I believe that by the time he decided to construct the stadium, he realised that football is now a major source of revenue generation and employment to players who are making money to support their lives,” Magufuli said.
With 60,000 seats, the Mkapa stadium is the 11th largest stadium in Africa and the largest stadium in Tanzania.
Mkapa’s last visit to Kenya was in February during the funeral of former President Daniel Arap Moi.