Sweetener, cream for Coffee

July 21, 2017

Sweetener, cream for CoffeeSport | 21 July 2017, 12:00pmThomas KwenaiteOne of Ethiopia’s most powerful clubs, FC Coffee, believe they will finally move out of the shadows of their city rivals St George after securing funds to kick-start the construction of their own 35 000-seater Stadium in the capital Addis Ababa.Club president Fekade Mamo announced this week that they had secured funding in the region of 350 million birr (US$153 million) and will go ahead with the construction of the stadium he believes will be completed within the next five years.

Mamo also announced that they didn’t secure the required amount to complete the construction.

However, the Addis Ababa City Administration allocated them a piece of land and with the funds that they have collected, will proceed with the project.

“Construction will commence next year,” said Mamo.

“At least at the start of next year we would have our own training pitch.

"The construction will be implemented in phases,” Mamo said, adding that the club expected their supporters to donate funds to complete the structure.

“I know that it is a risk. It may even be considered as a gamble. But we will do it with you (supporters); we have the confidence in Coffee’s fans.

"I assure you we will never give up in our endeavour to have our own field.”

Although considered one of Ethiopia’s two top sides, the other being St George, Coffee could pull one over their arch rivals by becoming the second club to construct their own stadium, with Woldiya the only club that own a stadium in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia seems to be attracting the attention of economists interested in Africa, and for good reason.

Except for Rwanda, Ethiopia is the only African country whose economic growth has been consistently high for more than a decade without relying on a natural resource boom to generate income.

Last year authorities signed a contract with the Chinese State Construction Engineering Corporation and the construction company is expected to deliver a new 60000-seat stadium in Bole in the eastern district near the international airport.

Covering almost 48 hectares, the stadium is to be constructed to meet Olympic and Fifa standards.

Ethiopia is a football-obsessed country and was one of the four founding members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 1957.

But it last hosted a major continental soccer championship in 1976, and has in recent years invested millions of US dollars in stadium construction as it tries to recapture its glory days of soccer in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ethiopian Minister of Youth and Sports Redwan Hussein said the government had already relocated 559 people who had been living on the proposed stadium site.

“We plan to use the new stadium and other regional stadiums under construction as a stepping stone to bid for the African Cup of Nations and international athletics competition to make the country a great sporting nation once again,” said Hussein.

The city of Adama is also planning to build a new 80 000-seat stadium at a cost of 1.7 billion birr (US$82 million), according to Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) president Juneydi Basha, who announced the news on his twitter account.

According to the report, Ethiopia is currently undergoing a major stadium construction boom and a new 30 000-seat stadium is also under construction in Gambella at a cost of 375 million birr (just over US$18 million).

There are reports that should Cameroon, who are due to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, fail to satisfy CAF head honchos meeting in Morocco to chart a way forward for African football this week that they are ready to host the tournament, the hosting rights would be taken away and awarded to Ethiopia. - THOMAS KWENAITE


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