Sekondi stadium cries for renovation

BY: Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah, Essipon
The damaged roof at the stadium

The Sekondi Stadium at Essipon in the Western Region, one of the venues for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, is fast deteriorating, leaving managers of the facility to grapple with a number of challenges which need to be addressed before the situation gets out of hand.

Currently, parts of the roofing is getting ripped off and, because the stadium was constructed close to the sea and the Aboadze Thermal Plant, the structures are gettiing rusty.

However, the monthly subvention from the National Sports Authority (NSA) to maintain the facility has not been forthcoming.

The 20,000 capacity edifice was constructed in 2007 by a Chinese company, Shanghai, towards the hosting of CAN 2008 by Ghana.

In an interview with the Graphic Sports at Essipon, the Western Regional Sports Director, Mr Beresford Ogbamey Mensah Amui Jnr, explained that the fast rate at which the structures and facilities were rusting was due to the fact that the materials used were foreign making it difficult to replace the damaged parts.

He insisted that major maintenance at the stadium was problematic but revealed that those toilets that were not opened for public use were all intact.

He pointed out that social activities such as weddings, keep fit and others generated internal funds for the running of the stadium, including the purchase of stationery, adding that there was only one official pick-up available for official duties.

"We are trying hard to keep the stadium running because for seven months now no money has come. If money comes the place will take shape. The rate at which we wanted to do it is the problem," Mr Amui stressed.

He also alleged that even the various district assemblies in the region that were supposed to provide part of their common fund towards sports development had not been doing so and, therefore, "We are unable to organise local sporting activities and we are also not in a position to send teams for outside competitions such as handball, basketball, table tennis, hockey, and karate.”

According to Mr Amui, the stadium was built purposely for football but the management had tried hard to create other disciplines and activities like keep fit and some social engagements in order to raise some funds.

Mr Amui noted that if the disciplines and facilities were there, the stadium would have been made  complete, but "I don't blame the authorities, since at that time there was pressure to finish the stadium for the CAN 2008 tournament after which they have forgotten the place.”

He revealed that air conditioners, computers and closed circuit TV (CCCTV) cameras were also not functioning to help check pilfering and other thefts at the stadium, while there were only five permanent labourers and five temporary workers who took care of the two pitches at Essipon and the Gyandu Park.

He noted that the road network to the stadium also needed repairs due to the typography of the area. He also mentioned the sewerage system and said the parts used by the Chinese contractor were not durable enough to withstand the harsh local weather conditions.

An inspection tour of the Graphic Sports revealed a collection of water at the main entrance of the stadium, the ripped-off roofing sheets and dirty walls that needed repainting.