Creative Soccer Culture

Residence #56 | 'Rasmee Dhandu Stadium' Maldives

Where there is land, there is football. The middle of the Indian Ocean might not be at the top of your list for an away day, but for the people of the Maldives it ain't just all beach football and cocktails. In stark contrast to the luxury resorts of this beautiful country stands the Rasmee Dhandu National Stadium on the capital of Malé – a tattered old ground, boxed in on one of the most densely populated islands in the world.

When you think of the Maldives, you think secluded beaches, crystal clear waters, private water bungalows. That's the tourist side of things that's scattered over 1,000 islands. On the capital of Malé it's a different scene – a condensed city life of just 2.2 square miles; from the air, every inch of the ground is covered by buildings except from a patch of grass surrounded by just over 11,000 vantage points, and that's where we find ourselves for the next visit in our 'Residence' series.


The National Stadium of the Maldives hosts international fixtures as well as every Dhivehi Premier League game in the country's top flight. That's a league of ten teams all playing each other twice over the course of the season. If you were thinking that a stadium in the Maldives would be surrounded by palm trees, beaches and panoramic sea views then you're going to be disappointed. The Rasmee Dhandu Stadium packs an urban vibe, overlooked by high rise apartments and defined by its makeshift upgrades and improvements. It's all throwback with a lick of faded paint, and that's what makes it so enticing.

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Unique in every way, in one of this planet's most isolated footballing scenes, the Rasmee Dhandu Stadium is covered in Maldivian character. With games on almost every night throughout the Dhivehi Premier League season, it's sure to be the most random place you've ever watched a live football match. 

Photography by Giacomo Cosua for SoccerBible.


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