On June 1, 2024, Kampala celebrated the much-anticipated grand opening of Hamz Stadium, formerly Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium. This event marked a new chapter in Uganda’s sports and entertainment landscape, driven by the vision and determination of young mogul Hamis Kiggundu, who spearheaded the ambitious reconstruction project through his company, Ham Enterprises (U) Ltd, in partnership with the Ugandan Government.

The journey to this grand opening began in 2017 when Hamis Kiggundu embarked on an extensive renovation of Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium. This Public-Private Partnership (PPP) transformed the historic stadium into a state-of-the-art facility, ready to host a multitude of sports and entertainment events.

The culmination of years of hard work and dedication was formally recognized on April 25, 2024, when President Museveni, during the commissioning ceremony, praised Kiggundu’s developmental vision and announced the 49-year lease granted to him to manage and recover his investment.

The grand opening event was spectacular. The festivities commenced at 7:00 PM with a dazzling 10-minute fireworks display that illuminated the Kampala skyline, setting the stage for an unforgettable evening. The excitement was palpable as the 35,000-capacity stadium filled nearly to the brim, with all 40 executive boxes and lounges, priced at 10 million shillings each, completely sold out.

The event featured a diverse range of activities, including a football match where URA FC triumphed over Kitara FC with a 3-0 victory, followed by another 10-minute fireworks display. The night continued with thrilling performances by top Ugandan artists such as Rema, Eddy Kenzo, Cindy, Bebe Cool, and Alien Skin, creating an electric atmosphere.

The sports action resumed with SC Villa defeating Express FC 1-0, with the winning teams each receiving a 10 million shillings award. Amateur boxing saw Zahara Nandawula triumph over Flavia Babirye, and professional boxing featured Isaac Zebra Jr defeating Abas Seguya. A draw match between Golola Moses and Umar Sematta added to the excitement.

Tight security measures were implemented to ensure the safety of all attendees. Rigorous checks and the presence of security agencies, including the UPDF, maintained order both inside and outside the venue. City access roads within a 2km radius of the stadium were closed off, allowing only VIP access and pedestrian entry, contributing to a secure and orderly environment.

Emergency medical services were available to all attendees, ensuring their safety throughout the event. First aid was promptly administered to Muhindo Geofrey, a spectator who had an attack following the loss of Kitara FC, demonstrating the commitment to providing quality services.

Adding to the grandeur, a variety of meals and drinks were served to all spectators, courtesy of Ham. This gesture not only satisfied the culinary cravings of the attendees but also underscored the hospitality and generosity that marked the event.

The grand opening of Hamz Stadium was more than just an event; it was a celebration of Ugandan culture, talent, and unity. The fusion of sports, music, and fireworks created a magical ambiance that will be remembered for years to come.

The event lasted until 5:30 AM on Sunday morning, marking the beginning of a new era for this iconic stadium and reaffirming its place as a hub for sports and entertainment in Uganda.

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