Senegal opened a new 50,000-seat stadium on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by African and European heads of state as well as worldwide sporting leaders, fresh off the national team’s win in the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this month.
The Turkish-built Abdoulaye Wade Stadium in Diamniadio, Senegal’s new showpiece city, is part of President Macky Sall’s drive to improve the country’s infrastructure.
The stadium was packed with fans flying Senegal’s green, yellow, and red flags, which will host the Summer Youth Olympics in 2026.
The presidents of Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Rwanda, Turkey, and Germany were also in attendance, as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino and African soccer legends Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.
“It is in this beautiful den that our valiant lions will celebrate their conquest of Africa and the world,” Sall told the crowd.
Senegal, spearheaded by Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, won their first Africa Cup of Nations title by defeating Egypt on Feb. 6 in Cameroon, boosting national pride.
The stadium is Senegal’s newest high-profile infrastructure project, named after former president Abdoulaye Wade, whom Sall beat in a highly contested 2012 election.