MARACANÃ – from the “RIO 2016” website

Brazilian Football and Music Stars show is Maracanã’s first test event

Around 21 thousand spectators, people who worked in the construction and their families, will be present at the stage of the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony  (courtesy Rio 2016)

Built for the 1950 World Cup, the stadium will stage the male and female football finals of the Rio 2016™ Games (Photo: Rio 2016™/Alex Ferro)

This Saturday, the 27th April, Maracanã Stadium receives its first invitation-only test event. Built for the 1950 World Cup and renovated for the 2013 Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup and the Rio 2016™ Opening and Closing Ceremonies, besides the men’s and women’s Football finals.

Brazilian Football greatest stars will take part in the match between Bebeto’s Friends and Ronaldo’s Friends, scheduled for 7pm. The match will be attended by around eight thousand people who worked in the renovation as well as their families, an expected total of 21 thousand people. Another four thousand municipal, state and federal governments guests and around one thousand accredited journalists are expected to attend as well.

Many of the 32 players called up for the match have defended Brazil in the Olympic Games, players like Bebeto and Ronaldo the Phenomenon themselves, besides left-back Júnior, midfielder Amaral, defender Aldair and right-back Jorginho. Other history-making Football stars such as Renato Gaúcho, Ricardo Rocha, Edilson Capetinha, Donizete Pantera, Zinho, Lira and many others will also be present.

Renovated by hands from all over Brazil

Workers from all over Brazil will be the first to test the new stands at Mário Filho Stadium, known as Maracanã. People like signaller José de Arimatéia de Souza, 47, from the State of Ceará , architect Janaína Muniz, 30, from the state of Espírito Santo and construction worker Max Douglas, 33, from the State of Rio de Janeiro. They all worked hands-on to transform Maracanã into the greatest stage for the world’s main sporting events in the next three years.

“I’ve been working in the Maracanã renovation for a year and eight months, I took courses and improved my professional competence a lot. My job looks easy but it’s an important task in order to avoid accidents and I’m glad nothing happened. The operations went completely well”, José de Arimatéia said. He is from the State of Ceará and will watch the game with work colleagues. “My whole family is in Ceará. But I know they will live this whole exciting experience with me somehow.”

The signallers Max Douglas Antunes and José de Arimatéia did a wonderful job (Photo: Rio 2016™/Alex Ferro)

On the other hand, Janaína, from the State of Espírito Santo, will take her sister Lívia to watch the match. She has been working in the renovation since July 2012, when the cables for the stadium’s cover started being assembled. Fluent in English, she said she had many tasks during the renovation, the main one being an interpreter.

“I was hired for this job because they needed someone with knowledge in construction, but who needed to deal with people of various nationalities, the majority working as climbers. Germans, Slovaks, Estonians, Czechs and even a Finn were all part of the team”, Janaína said. She specialised in Construction Engineering in Italy.

Projects and Construction Manager at Sondotécnica, a company contracted by the State of Rio de Janeiro to run the Maracanã renovation, Victor Marcondes Neto will take the whole family to Maracanã’s first test event, including his twin sons.

“One of them inherited my Football madness”, Victor said. His task during the renovation was inspecting the stadium daily. “Maracanã has an average diameter of 875 metres, and there are six floors. A daily inspection gets close to six kilometres, each inspection taking four hours. Sometimes I complete this circuit twice a day. We are athletes, athletes equipped with boots and hard hats. My cardiologist enjoys it”, he joked.

The first test event will use 30% of the arena’s capacity that admits a total of 78,838 people. The aim is to test equipment, facilities and infrastructure so that eventual adjustments for the full functioning of the stadium can be made.

Among the authorities, the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, the Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral Filho, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes and the President of the Organising Committee for the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games, Carlos Arthur Nuzman have all confirmed their presence. The teams will be coached by Carlos Alberto Parreira (to be confirmed) and Valdir Espinosa. Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo and Carlos Alberto Torres will watch the match as special guests.

A second test event is scheduled for 15th May, and this time tickets will be sold and 60% of the stadium’s full capacity will be used. The stadium’s official inauguration will take place on 2nd June with a friendly match between Brazil and England.

From 6:30pm, the public will be able to watch Martinho da Vila, Naldo, Neguinho da Beija-Flor and Preta Gil in concert. The National Anthem will be performed by Sandra de Sá, Fernanda Abreu, Ivan Lins and Eduardo Dusek. The area around the stadium will be closed for traffic from 4pm on Saturday.