This year's competition is officially named AFCON 2023 since it was initially scheduled to take place last year but was postponed until January-February 2024.
Stade de la Paix was recently renovated, which raised its capacity from 25,000 to 40,000, putting it only behind the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, which has a capacity of 60,000. Located in Bouake, it is the architectural jewel of the Gbeke region in the centre of the country.
Bouake is the second-largest city in the Ivory Coast and boasts a population of over 800,000 people. The Stade de la Paix was first inaugurated in 1984 when the Ivory Coast hosted the AFCON that year.
The community in which it is located has also produced some of the country’s great players, coaches and athletes. Local clubs ASC Bouake, Alliance de Bouake, and Bouake Football Club all use the Stade de la Paix as their home venue.
Previously known only as the Bouake Stadium, it was rechristened Stadium of Peace in July 2007 during the Flame of Peace organized for the resolution of the military-political crisis experienced by the country.
Drogba's call for peace at Stade de la Paix
It was the Stade de la Paix that cemented the peace in the Ivory Coast after captain Didier Drogba had called for a reconciliation between the central north and west, which were occupied by revels and the government-protected southern zones.
This happened during a home game as part of the 2008 AFCON qualifiers against Madagascar at the Stade de la Paix, which the Elephants romped to victory. The stadium went on to receive an uplift, undergoing a renovation that cost almost 300 million CFA francs.
The pitch is now furnished with safety grilles. The presidential box, the locker rooms, the offices, and the press gallery have also received huge facelifts. The stadium has since hosted many big games involving the Ivorian national team, including AFCON qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers. Most recently, the Elephants defeated the Comoros 3-1 there last March.
As one of the venues allotted for AFCON 2024, the Stade de la Paix was closed down for a second renovation, which saw its capacity raised from 25,000 to 40,000. Currently, the stadium has an infirmary, four changing rooms, a warm-up room and a press room, among other world-class facilities.
There are also other facilities near the stadium, including four training grounds, a city airport, and other construction works that cost around 23.38 billion CFA francs. The Stade de la Paix is one of the most accessible stadiums in the Ivory Coast and it boasts more than 500 spaces as parking lots for all types of vehicles.
The city of Bouake sits approximately 350 kilometres north of the capital Abidjan and will have a temperature of 25 degrees with Harmattan for the duration of AFCON 2024. The beautiful city will be the home of Group D during the AFCON and will house teams like Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
The stadium will also host some of the AFCON knockout matches, including one round-of-16 game, one quarter-final and one semi-final game.
The schedule of the Stade de la Paix at AFCON 2024
- 15 January, 9pm: Algeria – Angola (Group D)
- 16 January, 3pm: Burkina Faso – Mauritania (Group D)
- 20 January, 3pm: Algeria – Burkina Faso (Group D)
- 20 January, 6pm: Mauritania – Angola (Group D)
- 23 January, 6pm: Gambia – Cameroon (Group C)
- 23 January, 9pm: Mauritania – Algeria (Group D)
- 27 January, 6pm: 1st group D against 3rd B/E or F (8th final 1)
- 3 February, 8pm: Quarter-final 4
- 7 February, 9pm: Semi-final 2