“Enchanted”. That is how Brazil President Dilma Rousseff summarised the feeling she felt while visiting the Dunas Arena in Natal, and taking the stadium's first kick-off towards the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The state of Rio Grande do Norte will be stage of four World Cup matches.
“This stadium is as beautiful as Natal. It ended up costing 3% less that the budgeted price and employed four thousand workers, inmates among them. In addition to all mobility and drainage related legacy, we’re leaving a stadium like this behind. It will be used for more than games, it is a venue where conventions, exhibitions and big meetings may be held", stated the President. In addition to the stadium, road-works are being done in Natal, a new airport is being built in São Gonçalo do Amarante and the port's passenger terminal building works are being finished.
The President's delegation arrived at the Dunas Arena a little before 07:00pm (local time). At the stadium, the President crossed one of the lounges where events will be staged, used one of the lifts that provide access to the 39 boxes and spoke to local and state officials, as well as members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) in the VIP area.
Then, she went to the ground floor to see an exhibition of local artists that used the World Cup as its theme. Towards the end of her visit to the Dunas Arena, she cut the inauguration ribbon, went onto the pitch, spoke to two builders who were acting on behalf of the four thousand workers involved in the project and took the first kick-off.
“I’m sure that the Brazilian people will show that in addition to their passion, they know how to host their visitors well. Eight teams will play here in Natal - among them Uruguay and Italy, World Cup winners. We have a lot to show in terms of development, income distribution and improvements for our people", she stated. According to her, the Dunas Arena will enhance Natal's already existing tourist potential.
In addition to the President, federal, state and municipal officials also attended the event, such as the Acting Minister of Sport Luis Fernandes, the Rio Grande do Norte State Governor Rosalba Ciarlini, Natal's Mayor Carlos Eduardo, as well as former footballers Cafu and Bebeto and the FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke.