Madagascar: New Barea Stadium Not Approved by CAF

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In recent days, the renowned Barea Stadium, located in the heart of the capital Antananarivo, underwent extensive renovations at a substantial cost and was inaugurated in September 2021. However, it has failed to obtain approval from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), dealing a significant blow to the country.

This decision is expected to deprive the national team of the opportunity to play home matches for the World Cup qualifiers against Comoros and Mali scheduled for June.

Earlier this April, an inspector from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) visited Madagascar’s capital to verify if the twenty safety recommendations mandated by international football governing bodies, and outlined during the previous inspection in 2021, had been implemented.

According to the inspection report, it appears that the requirements have not been met, as the CAF ultimately concluded that Barea Stadium, along with 26 other stadiums out of the 54 visited across the continent, does not meet the standards set for hosting international matches. Notably, it was at this stadium in 2023 where a stampede during the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games resulted in 13 fatalities.

It’s worth recalling that in 2021, the stadium, then brand new, received provisional approval from CAF. However, the recommendations for obtaining final approval were allegedly not implemented by the Malagasy Football Federation. When contacted by RFI, its officials declined to comment.

Disappointment on Social Media

This Kianja Barea, constructed to “defend the honor of the nation,” as proclaimed by President Rajoelina during its inauguration, came with a staggering price tag of $77 million, a considerable sum for the country. It was touted as the largest “manarapenitra” stadium in the Indian Ocean, meaning it met all standards. The construction was entrusted to China State Construction Overseas Development.

Despite this setback, the Malagasy government remains hopeful and has requested an extension from the CAF. The Ministry of New Cities and Housing, responsible for managing Barea Stadium, is pulling out all the stops and has initiated urgent construction works. Secretary of State Gérard Andriamanohisoa assures that the international regulations in force in 2021 were indeed adhered to during the stadium’s construction.

Soukaina Sghir

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