Through its history, architecture, and atmosphere, Stade de l’Amitie has over the years become an essential part of the soul of the city of Cotonou. But this stadium has not met the requirements of professional football. After a long process under the leadership of the authorities, the plan for the new stadium has become reality.
Apart from its frame, nothing of the old stadium has been preserved. Everything was changed including athletics track, bleachers, changing rooms, press booth, projectors and even toilets. A 100% refurbishment that made the largest stadium in Benin, a renovated arena.
This new configuration convinced CAF to choose it as a host to the final of TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup between JS Kabylie and Raja.
Closed since April 2019, the “General Mathieu Kerekou Friendship Stadium” is operational again, after 32 months of work and an investment of 13 billion FCFA.
Small in size but big in heart, Benin, the West African state, is amazing with its uniqueness and the quality of its gray matter. The French philosopher Emmanuel once said of the country “Dahomey (former name of Benin) is the Latin Quarter of Africa”.
This legend still fuels all sectors of public life today. In particular the Beninese sport which is gradually emancipating itself. Even if it took until 2004 for Benin to participate in its very first Africa Cup of Nations.
To date, Benin has 4 AFCON participations (2004, 2008, 2010 and 2019), capped with a quarter-final appearance in 2019 on Egyptian soil, with a breathtaking performance that amazed African football lovers.
In recent years, Beninese football has undergone profound changes. Under the leadership of the president of the federation, Mathurin de Chacus, the domestic championship is regular. ESAE club, winner of the Benin Cup in 2019, achieved a resounding feat in the Confederation Cup a year later. The Beninese club has eliminated two clubs whose training centers have established reputations, namely Salitas from Burkina Faso and Generation Foot from Senegal. An exceptional 2019-2020 year for Beninese football. ESAE was the first Beninese club to reach the group stage of a CAF competition. The last big performance for a Beninese club dates back to 1987, when the Ouémé Dragons reached the Cup Winners’ Cup semifinal.
Since 2016, a vast program of infrastructure construction has taken shape with the construction of 22 municipal sports stadiums which will soon be operational. The second phase of the program takes into account 17 other stages.
A new dynamic spurred by President Patrice Talon who today places Benin on the list of good performers in terms of investments in sports infrastructure. The latest being the rehabilitation of the largest arena in the country, the Mathieu Kérékou Friendship Stadium. Stadium employees, players, licensees and supporters are finally seeing this essential renovation materialize to support The Squirrels in their progress.