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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Tanzania's new stadium ready
By Emmanuel Muga BBC Sport,
Dar es Salaam

Tanzania's new national stadium
Tanzania's new national stadium
Tanzania's new national stadium is set to open its doors in September, when it hosts a Nations Cup final-round qualifier between the Taifa Stars and Mozambique.

The construction of the 60,000 seater stadium started two years ago and has largely been funded by the Chinese government at an estimated cost of US $56 million.

"The stadium is completed and ready, we are waiting for the Tanzanian government to tell us when they want it handed over to them," Zu Dao Chun, the project's general manager told BBC Sport.

"This stadium was built using advanced engineering technology, it will need at least 30 years before any kind of maintenance has to be carried out on it," Zu Dao Chun added.

'Extendable roof'

The stadium's outstanding features include a roof that extends inwards to cover seats up to the halfway line, 114 close-circuit television cameras, a lavish VIP lounge, 600 car parking spaces, a scoreboard and five main entrances.

The Minister of Information, Culture and Sports, Mohammed Seif Khatib, said the stadium, which he described as the country's symbol of pride, would be managed by a private company.

"This stadium is perhaps the best in the region, we are proud of it. It will help stimulate sports development in this country, and it shows how serious the government is about promoting sport," he said.

'Real Madrid opener'

The stadium was initially scheduled to open in July and President Jakaya Kikwete had invited Spanish giants Real Madrid to play during the opening ceremony.

This arrangement was cancelled due to delays with construction.

As the only major stadium in the country it will be used to host major football matches as well track and field events.

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