Azumah Nelson Sports Complex: A case of seeing sports  as a hobby not business
The Azumah Nelson Sports Complex undergoing renovation

Azumah Nelson Sports Complex: A case of seeing sports as a hobby not business

In 2018, government decided to construct 10 Youth Resource Centres with a major focus on sports infrastructure to augment the existing sports facilities in the country. The government believed the lack of sports infrastructure in the country over the years had impeded the growth and development of sports in the country.


There could be an outlier to this state policy;The believe that sports is now a genuine business and the government may use it as an avenue to generate a lot of revenue for the country, while creating employment for the many unemployed youth in the country.

Whatever the government thought about, sods were cut across the 10 regions of the country.(It should be noted that the regions were 10 before the referendum to expand them to 16).

Azumah Nelson Sports Complex and cost

One such centre to be redeveloped and modernised was the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex which was formerly known as the Kaneshie Sports Complex. It was expected to be completed in a minimum of nine months and a maximum of 12 months at a cost of $4 million dollars

The legendary boxer it was named after, Azumah Nelson, once wanted his name to be dissociated from the facility after noticing the deplorable nature of the facility.

It was constructed in the Acheampong era to serve as a playground and a talent hunting sports centre for the youth. Successive governments post Acheampong have ignored the facility.

Many were happy when the Akufo-Addo led administration decided to modernise it into a youth resource centre.

However, when the Graphic Business visited the complex a week ago, what was supposed to take nine months to complete beginning 2018 now looks a bushy grass-cutter rearing site.

Authority’s response

Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, the CEO of the National Youth Authority under whose purview this construction falls blames the lack of funds and the attempt by the state to construct all facilities across the country simultaneously as the main blights of the project.

He was hopeful that at least five of the complexes will be completed by the ending of March but couldn’t tell how in this dire economic challenges, where the funding of major construction projects would come from.

The treatment of these 10 sporting facilities by the state epitomises how successive leaders in the country view sports in the country; as a hobby,a recreational activity other than a business model that can uplift many a youth to eke out a living and prevent deviancy.

Sports has always been at the periphery of government business even when it has brought international recognition, financial support and prestige to the nation.

Ghana’s first World Boxing Champion David Kotei Poison (D.K. Poison) saw his world title purse used by the Acheampong regime for the importation of goods for the country. Nana Akufo Addo will later reimburse him.

The nation secured world title and financial rewards in Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Under-17 National team the Black Starlets, Under-20 National team the Black Satellites, Olympic bronzes, Commonwealth gold and many more in the discipline.

Athletes who won these laurels for the nation have to go through hell, no facilities to train and have to train on an empty stomach. But leadership and the nation savour the honour and glory that came with those feats.

Not for once has there been a national agenda from the elites and leadership of this country about how to develop sporting infrastructure and develop the discipline into a business venture as done in the US and Europe and some parts of Asia.

Off course Kenya has shown the way, it sports industry is projected to reach US$69.80m in 2023. That can employ thousands of people.

Financial loss

The financial loss of not completing a project which started in 2018 and expected to be completed in nine months but still not completed in five years is glaring for all to see.

New costs will be incurred, the facility is expected to cost the nation more than the $4 million dollars adjusted to inflation, also therein lies the long-term effects of not having talents and athletes for the national cause.

The African Games, which was slated for this year but postponed to next year, was expected to herald a sports revolution in the country. But as things stand now relative to the economic conditions in the country, one cannot safely say this vision will soon materialise.


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