Gabon president makes surprise visit to stadium

Gabon president makes surprise visit to stadium

Published Jan. 19, 2012 1:28 p.m. ET

Gabon President Ali Bongo made a surprise visit to Stade de l'Amitie in Libreville on Thursday, touring the newly renovated venue which will host the African Cup of Nations final on Feb. 12.

Bongo also went to the media tent outside the main stadium during his visit, catching reporters and photographers working there unaware.

Surrounded by security officials and local organizers, Bongo appeared through a side entrance at the media center and spent about five minutes inside the tent before continuing his tour of the 40,000-seat stadium and its facilities.

Gabon and West African neighbor Equatorial Guinea are co-hosting the 16-team African Cup of Nations, which kicks off in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, on Saturday.


The first matches at the Libreville stadium are Monday, when host Gabon plays Niger and Morocco faces Tunisia in back-to-back games.

Bongo's unannounced visit came as workers scrambled to ready Stade de l'Amitie for matches at the 28th version of Africa's football championship.

It's the biggest sporting event Gabon has held and facilities around the stadium were still being completed Thursday, fours days before it kicks off in Libreville.