The Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador was officially delivered this Friday morning (05.04). After visiting the stadium, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff went to the centre of the pitch, took off her shoes and gave the stadium’s first kick-off. In her speech, the President highlighted the creativity of the people from the Bahia state.
“Having the stands shaped as a horseshoe gives the stadium attitude and a different look. This shows the most prominent features of the people from this state, their creativity. This stadium has a very special moment, when we turn to look at the Tororó spring and see the orixás (African deities who correspond to points of strength for nature). A stadium very much in line with the syncretism inherent to our culture", said the President, after unveiling the official opening plaque.
Rousseff emphasised the arena’s sustainable qualities and summarised with the word “pride” the new stadium's impact. During the event, Dilma was given a metal flower made by Lucimar de Freitas - first woman to be part of the ground's working force - with material taken from the rubble after the old stadium had been demolished.
The Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo compared the new venue’s characteristics with Salvador and its residents. "Salvador has a stadium that reflects its personality, history and identity. Since the beginning, I have been following the endeavours to rebuild the Fonte Nova Arena at a standard that does justice to the state of Bahia’s history and dignity, as well as the passion and grandeur of its football fans", he said.
Some players, who made a name for themselves at the Fonte Nova Arena, attended the event: Osni Lopes, former Bahia and Vitoria striker and one of top goal scorers of the Old Fonte Nova, and Bobô, former Bahia player. Osni and José Eduardo, the latter a Bahia and Vitoria player in the 70s, were awarded certificates by President Dilma and Jacques Wagner for completing a training course offered to former athletes by the state government. The course has the aim of providing them with basic knowledge in tourism, entrepreneurship, the environment and foreign languages. The first group had 27 former athletes.
Past, present and future
The difficult decision of demolishing the old Fonte Nova Arena was recalled by the Bahia State Governor Jacques Wagner. He explained that keeping “the horseshoe” was taken into consideration when choosing the new project. “In 1950, the Governor at the time Octavio Mangabeira (after whom the sport complex is named after) wanted to build the stadium to bring the World Cup to Salvador that year. Unfortunately, it was not ready on time, but history took its course and now we have the pleasure of hosting the Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup. In addition to the matches, the best shows in the world will stop in Salvador, thus, putting our city on the international circuit for shows”, said the Governor
Urban mobility investment
During the ceremony Jacques Wagner and President Dilma announced an investment in the order of R$ 1 billion, from PAC (Growth Acceleration Programme) resources, for roadways in Salvador, which include two expressways with exclusive bus lanes. “It is an essential project for everyone who lives in the city”, said the President.
“On this historic day, the state and municipal government have come to an understanding and the city will finally have a metro system” said Salvador's Mayor Antonio Carlos Magalhães Neto.
The following authorities also attended the ceremony today: the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Sport Luis Fernandes, the Ministers of Justice José Eduardo Cardozo, of Transport César Borges, of Cities Aganaldo Ribeiro, of Social Communication Helena Chagas, and the Minister of the Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality Luiza Bairros, among others.