CHINA HANDS OVER STADIUM TO MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique has officially received its new $57m national sports stadium from the Chinese government.

Nearly 100 people attended the opening ceremony at the 42,000-seater Estadio do Zimpeto, outside Maputo, the largest venue built since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975.

There have been heavy delays in construction which started in November 2008.

Around 2,000 workers, including 600 Chinese, took part in the construction of the stadium which features a giant statue of a figure with multiple arms raised to the sky and greets visitors after they pass a Chinese-style entrance.

The stadium was due to host warm-up matches ahead of the 2010 World Cup in neighbouring South Africa but was not finished until October last year.

Deputy sports minister, Carlos Sousa, said: "It will enable us to host international tournaments in the region such as the 2011 African Games."

According to Sousa, international football body FIFA, has already approved the facilities in principle, with Maputo hosting the African Games in September later this year.

However there is some work remaining as parking space and other entry points are still unfinished.

Posted on 17/01/2011