Stade des Martyrs or fully Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecôte (Martyrs of Pentecost Stadium) is the national stadium of Democratic Republic of Congo. The 80,000 capacity is primarily used for Football but is occasionally used for music concerts and athletics events.
Congo’s national stadium was constructed a fraction under a six year period beginning with the ground breaking ceremony on October 14th 1988 and ending with an inaugural match between the Leopards of Zaire and Malawi football team on September 14th 1994.
Costing an estimated $38 million USD which equates to around $60 million as adjusted for inflation in 2015, the project was largely financed by the People’s Republic of China who formed a memorandum of Understanding with Republic of Zaire on May 13th 1987.
Originally known as Kamanyola Stadium, many Football experts regard Congo’s stadium as the Cathedral of African Football in a similar way to England’s Wembley Stadium or Brazil’s Maracana. The cultural legacy of the stadium is regarded as one of the crowning achievements of the controversial regime of Zaire.
After Mobutu the leader of Zaire was forced to flee the country in 1997, the stadium was renamed to Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecote in honour of four men who were hanged on June 1996 on the site of the stadium for bravely defying the former government.
Often shortened to just Stade des Martyrs, in the past crowds have reportedly reached as high as 100,000 for some matches which is undoubtedly unsafe due to the stadiums size. Thankfully after a recommendation by FIFA in 2008, the government in spent over $15 million renovating the stadium to current international standards.