The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah, has tasked the National Sports Authority (NSA) to manage the country’s sporting facilities in a manner that would ensure value for money, particularly when they rent out the stadia for non-sporting purposes.
During an inspection tour of the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi last Tuesday, Mr Asiamah expressed outrage at the lack of a maintenance culture and the level of deterioration of the football pitch, broken plastic seats at the various stands and other ancilliary facilities constructed 10 years ago for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Ghana.
Accompanied by a team of experts and other sports officials, the minister described the urinals at the stadium as “a mess” and wondered why officials mandated to manage national assets like the stadia in Accra and Kumasi would sit unconcerned and allow them to ran down in the manner that the Accra Sports Stadium and the Baba Yara Stadium are fast deteriorating.
Mr Asiamah told the media that renovation works at the Accra Stadium will commence in June at an estimated cost of $12 million while work on the Baba Yara Stadium would commence immediately after feasibility studies and costing had been completed.
He said, as part of the hosting rights awarded to Ghana for next year’s continental tournament, a technical team from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will be in the country to inspect facilities and ascertain its readiness.
The Ashanti Regional Director of Sports, Mr Richard Iddrisu Ewuntomah, who led the minister and his entourage during the tour, bemoaned a lack of budgetary support from the government to ensure proper and regular maintenance of the stadium.
He revealed that the NSA made more money renting out the stadium for non-sporting events such as musical shows than revenue generated from sporing activities, but their Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) was inadequate to address the challenges at the stadium, especially as they were under a directive to send their IGFs to Accra.
"For the past 10 years, we have not received even imprest [from government] to help manage the place," Mr Ewuntomah lamented.
Mr Asiamah later used the opportunity to reaffirm the government’s commitment to construct additional stadia in each of the five remaining regional capitals across the country, adding that three community parks would be put up by the end of the year in the Ashanti, Northern and Eastern regions to create a solid platform for talent hunting and generate employment opportunities for the youth.