A section of the Sunyani Coronation Park stands with seats
A section of the Sunyani Coronation Park stands with seats

No home venue for newly promoted Bofoakwa - Coronation Park in shambles

Bofoakwa Tano defeated Techiman Eleven Wonders 7-6 on penalties on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, after both sides settled for a 1-1 draw after extra time in their Access Bank Division One League zonal playoff at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Advertisement

The shootout victory earned Bofoakwa Tano FC an automatic ticket to the Ghana Premier League (GPL) next season as winners of Zone One of the Access Bank Division One League, alongside other zonal champions, Nations FC and Kpando Heart of Lions.

Supporters of the club, including the chiefs and people of Sunyani hailed the team for returning to the premiership 16 years after they were demoted to the second tier of Ghana football.

After the victory, hundreds of the club’s fans poured onto the principal streets of Sunyani to celebrate the team's qualification.

Not only that, on Friday, June 2, 2023, during the team’s arrival, hundreds of people lined up along the shoulders of the streets of Bechem, Tanoso, Abesim and Sunyani to welcome the champions.

The team paid a courtesy call on the Tanoso Traditional Council, Sunyani Traditional Council, Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Umar Abdul Kadir and later engaged the supporters at the Coronation Park.

The visit to the various institutions and personalities was to present the trophy and officially inform them of the team's qualification to the premiership and to show appreciation for their support.

However, despite the euphoria surrounding the qualification of Bofoakwa to the premier league, the club faces a daunting challenge.

Coronation Park

The Sunyani Coronation Park, which has hosted several high-profile national and international football matches is currently in a deplorable state due to the lack of maintenance.

Located at the heart of the city, the once magnificent 5,000-capacity facility is currently struggling to meet the GPL standard due to its dilapidated state.

Its poor state notwithstanding, the park is the home venue of Division One clubs such as Brong Ahafo United FC, Young Apostles FC, and Prisons Ladies FC, among many other lower-tier 
football teams.

The facility is in dire need of a massive makeover, while other additional facilities are needed to be constructed to expand and improve its capacity and standard, before it can host premier league matches.

The last time the facility was renovated was in 2008 when Ghana hosted the Africa Cup of Nations, although it was not one of the venues.

The Daily Graphic gathered during a visit to the park, that chairs were brought from the Accra Sports Stadium to be fixed at the stands to improve upon its standard.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility was converted into a market, as some traders were moved from the Sunyani Everyday Market, which worsened the already poor state of the facility.

The city authorities decided to decongest the everyday market and saw the Coronation Park as an ideal place for traders as all sporting activities had been banned during the period.   

To make matters worse, residents have put up containers and shops around the entire football facility, making it difficult for people, especially first-time visitors, to recognise its existence.

Challenges

A tour showed the need for the construction of a new dressing room, because the old facility is far from the pitch, which poses a security threat to the players and match officials.

In addition, the stands are in a deplorable state, as some of the chairs are broken beyond repairs.

Not only that, the pitch is in a poor state as different grass have taken over the normal pitch grass, while some portions, particularly the centre and the 18 yards of the pitch, are bare.

The facility also needs an improved tunnel because the current tunnel is outmoded as there is no safe zone.

Indeed, the entire facility including the inner perimeter and the press centre is in disrepair, thus calling for a total overhaul and the reconstruction of a stadium for the various teams using the current facility.

This is the huge challenge that the Bofoakwa Tano football team faces as it returns to the premier league and hopes to use the Coronation Park for its home matches.

Nightmare

At the Bono Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), the Chairman of the Club, Alex Ababio, said one of the major challenges, which had become a nightmare to the management of the team, was the poor state of the Coronation Park.

He said as soon as Bofoakwa defeated Techiman Eleven Wonders to qualify for the premier league, the Club Licensing Board wrote to management pointing out some of defects associated with the facility, asking that such defects should be fixed immediately, if the club was interested in using the park as its home venue.

Mr Ababio mentioned the construction of a new dressing room, safe zone, inner perimeter and press centre, as some of the facilities needed to be worked on to meet the premier league standard.

He said the club had only a month to fix all the problems, explaining that work on the facility was beyond the club's means.

While stating that the board would soon inspect the facility, Mr Ababio reiterated that “In fact the club alone cannot complete the work in one month".

He, therefore, appealed to the regional minister to use her office to influence Members of Parliament, municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) and other philanthropists to assist in the renovation of the Coronation Park.

Mr Ababio said initially, the club would gather four trips of sand to start the renovation work, while it awaited help from the minister and other philanthropists.

Assurance

The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, gave an assurance that she would lobby to ensure that the facility was rehabilitated, before the start of the league.

She explained that before the club's qualification, there were already plans to renovate the facility because it was in a bad state.

Ms Owusu-Banahene said she would contact the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, the 12 MPs in the region, MDCEs and other philanthropists to support the RCC and the Sunyani Municipal Assembly to renovate the facility.

She challenged the club, particularly the players, to be committed to play, obey the technical team's advice and called for unity and respect to help the club remain in the league.

Ms Owusu-Banahene said the region was noted as the football hub of the country, considering the number of prominent players it had produced.

Club preparation

Speaking to the Daily Graphic after the separate visits, Mr Ababio said management was expected to hold a meeting to take series of decisions, such as how to form the technical team and beefing up of the squad.

He said currently, the coach, Fuseini Abubakar, did not have Licence “A” to coach the club, but gave assurance that the club was ready to support him to upgrade his qualification.

“Since he is not qualified to coach the team at the premier level, we will be looking forward to get a new coach to head the technical team. We are also considering adding six experienced premier league players to beef up the squad,” Mr Ababio stated.

He said the club would not make many changes in the management level, but would rather seek views and advice from other clubs that had vast experience in the league, to enhance the skills and knowledge of the management.  

Mr Ababio said the club had started seeking sponsorships both in and outside of the region to sponsor the club's activities in the league.

He expressed the club's readiness to participate in the premier league and gave assurance that everything possible would be done to sustain the club in the premiership.

Determination

The Captain of the Club, Fuseini Mohammed, told the Daily Graphic that the team approached all its matches with determination, hard work and commitment, which earned them the qualification. 

He said the players were fully prepared to play in the premier league with a target of winning the ultimate premier league title.

"It is our prayer that management would be able to get more sponsorship to support our activities in the league," he stated.


Writer's email: [email protected]

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...

0
Shares