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Afcon 2023: Guide to Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Purpose-built for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, the Alassane Ouattara Stadium (also known as the National Stadium or Olympic Stadium) will host the Afcon 2023 final, as well as nine other fixtures at the tournament, which begins on 13 January 2024.

What is the Alassane Ouattara Stadium like?

The Alassane Ouattara Stadium was designed and constructed in anticipation of Ivory Coast hosting the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Instead, it will be a host at Afcon 2023. This change in hosting date came around after Cameroon were stripped of the 2019 tournament due to stadium and infrastructure construction delays. As a result, Egypt hosted the 2019 edition, Cameroon were given Afcon 2021, with Ivory Coast receiving the next tournament instead.

Afcon 2023 is the first major competition to be hosted in Ivory Coast since Afcon 1984.

It's enormous, that much is clear. It is the 11th largest stadium in Africa and by far the biggest in Ivory Coast, nearly double the size of all the others.

The Alassane Ouattara has 96 columns on its exterior, some adorned with stained glass in the national colours. These act as a facade and as supports for the roof, which is 51.4m above ground level.

There are three tiers in this bowl stadium. The lower tier has 24 rows of seating, the middle tier has 13 rows and the upper tier has 28 rows.

How much did the Alassane Ouattara Stadium cost?

The Alassane Ouattara Stadium was built at a cost of around £200m.

Like many newly built stadiums in Africa, Ivory Coast's national arena was constructed with the help of the country's partnership with China. Chinese brands and companies were heavily involved in the building and the design was prepared by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design.

Construction on the ground began in mid-December 2016 and was expected to be complete by October 2019. It was instead finished in 2020 due to several issues, including poor weather, malaria breakouts and COVID-19.

Where is the Alassane Ouattara Stadium?

Situated 20km north of central Abidjan, the Alassane Ouattara Stadium is designed to, one day, sit at at the centre of an enormous 287-hectare ‘sports city'. Should these plans come to fruition, Abidjan will have one of the largest sporting districts in Africa, with facilities to host football, rugby, athletics and many other events.

Controversy at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium

At the match between Ivory Coast and Mali on 12 September 2023, the pitch at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium looked atrocious. Under heavy rain, the turf was covered in enormous puddles. The game was stopped at half-time and did not resume afterwards.

After so much money spent on the project, the Ivorian people were infuriated at the quality of the pitch, or lack thereof. In fact, the corridors and halls of the stadium were flooded, as well as the pitch.

Nasser Edy Nicolas, a commentator on the Ivorian channel NCI, called for “those responsible” to “be held accountable and punished in accordance with the law.”

“The Ivorian taxpayer can't spend over 200 million euros on the construction and renovation of the Ebimpé Stadium and then, after 2 or 3 matches, end up with this!” he is quoted as saying by Sport News Africa.

Why is it called the Alassane Ouattara Stadium?

The ground is named after Alassane Ouattara, the President of Ivory Coast since 2010.

Alassane Ouattara - President of Ivory Coast, pictured here with the FIFA World Cup | The Alassane Ouattara Stadium is named after the President who has been in power since 2010
Alassane Ouattara (L) and former French football player Christian Karembeu hold the FIFA World Cup Trophy | Photo: Avalon/Icon Sport

Afcon 2023 fixtures at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium

Date Time (GMT) ‘Home' team Result ‘Away' team Round
13 January 2024
20:00
23px Flag of C%C3%B4te d%27Ivoire.svg Ivory Coast
23px Flag of Guinea Bissau.svg Guinea-Bissau
Group A
14 January 2024
14:00
23px Flag of Nigeria.svg Nigeria
23px Flag of Equatorial Guinea.svg Equatorial Guinea
Group A
18 January 2024
14:00
23px Flag of Equatorial Guinea.svg Equatorial Guinea
23px Flag of Guinea Bissau.svg Guinea-Bissau
Group A
18 January 2024
17:00
23px Flag of C%C3%B4te d%27Ivoire.svg Ivory Coast
23px Flag of Nigeria.svg Nigeria
Group A
22 January 2024
17:00
23px Flag of Equatorial Guinea.svg Equatorial Guinea
23px Flag of C%C3%B4te d%27Ivoire.svg Ivory Coast
Group A
22 January 2024
20:00
23px Flag of Mozambique.svg Mozambique
23px Flag of Ghana.svg Ghana
Group B
28 January 2024
17:00
Winner Group A
3rd Group C/D/E
Round of 16
2 February 2024
20:00
Winner R4
Winner R3
Quarter-finals
7 February 2024
20:00
Winner QF3
Winner QF2
Semi-finals
11 February 2024
20:00
Winner SF1
Winner SF2
Final

What is the largest stadium in Africa?

The Alassane Ouattara Stadium is the 11th largest ground in Africa. You can see a full list below.

What is the largest stadium in Africa?

1

FNB Stadium

94,736

Johannesburg

South Africa

2

New Administrative Capital Stadium

93,940

New Administrative Capital

Egypt

3

Borg el-Arab Stadium

86,000

Alexandria

Egypt

4

Stade des Martyrs

80,000

Kinshasa

DR Congo

5

Cairo International Stadium

75,000

Cairo

Egypt

6

Ibn Batouta Stadium

65,000

Tangier

Morocco

7

Stade du 5 Juillet

64,200

Algiers

Algeria

8

Ellis Park Stadium

62,567

Johannesburg

South Africa

9

Abuja Stadium

60,491

Abuja

Nigeria

10

Stade 7 November

60,000

Radès

Tunisia

11

Alassane Ouattara Stadium

60,000

Abidjan

Ivory Coast

12

Stade Municipal de Kintélé

60,000

Brazzaville

Congo

13

National Stadium

60,000

Dar es-Salaam

Tanzania

14

Paul Biya Stadium

60,000

Yaoundé

Cameroon

15

Heroes National Stadium

60,000

Lusaka

Zambia


Harry Robinson

A freelance writer and broadcaster, Harry has worked for or featured in/on Manchester United, FourFourTwo, The Independent, The Manchester Mill, UEFA, United We Stand and many others. He's the author of The Men Who Made Manchester United and hosts the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. A Stretford End season ticket holder, Harry travels around Europe to watch his team.

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