‘Wembley’ takes Astro turf to communities
Sports infrastructure plays an important role in developing sports talents and nurturing society at large. However, in our part of the world, the provision of basic sports infrastructure at both school and national levels are always a challenge.
Two years ago, there was a lot of speculation and controversy surrounding the development of a project in the heart of Kotobabi, a suburb of Accra. To many, the project was to be used as a gambling and drinking centre to entice the youth of the community.
One-and-half years after the completion of the project, the facility has become the centre of attraction for most people.
The project, popularly known as the Kotobabi Wembley Sports Complex, boasts an AstroTurf with modern facilities for both sporting and other recreational purposes.
In addition, it has enhanced sporting activities, especially football within the Kotobabi community, and also serves other adjoining areas in the Ayawaso East and Central constituencies.
The facility was designed, constructed and being managed by Wembley Construction Limited.
Basically, an AstroTurf is a surface of synthetic fibres made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commercial applications as well.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Wembley Project, Mr Robert Tetter Coleman, “artificial turf stands up to heavy use, such as in sports, and requires no irrigation or trimming. Domed, covered and partially covered stadia may require artificial turf because of the difficulty of getting grass enough sunlight to stay healthy.
He said due to its strategic location, it was used by religious groups for weddings, parties, corporate events among others. Besides, both former and current international footballers like Stephen Appiah, Mohammed Polo, Gargo Mohammed, Laryea Kingston, Sulley Muntari among others play on the AstroTurf football pitch every week and they are known as the Monday Stars.
Mr Coleman explained that participation in sports is extremely important, and should be encouraged much more. Children and young people in particular need to engage in sports so that they can develop good habits.
“The main benefits of sports are improved health and fitness, and the development of social and communication skills. It is for this reason that we have installed floodlights to enable even workers to come over to play football, basketball or table tennis with friends after work,” he stated.
Apart from Komatik, there is another project located at the Droolly Cluster of Schools. Schoolchildren from those schools have the exclusive right to use the facility during school hours.
Aside from the usage of the sporting facility, Mr Coleman said the schoolchildren also had the right per the memorandum of understanding between the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the manager of the facility to use the 14-seater water closet toilet facility free of charge.
“The school compound has also been walled providing security to the school. According to the headmaster, before the construction of the facility, a lot of people used the compound for driving lessons, which usually disrupts learning.
“A lot of ‘wee’ smokers also hid under the trees on the compound to smoke but all these stopped with the inception of the edifice. The sanitation conditions too had improved drastically,” he stressed.
According to another Headmaster, of the Kotobabi‘5’, ‘7’ and ‘11’, one of the significant benefits of the project was the awarding of scholarships to brilliant, needy students every year by the manager of the complex to support the needy in the schools.
Moreover, the company is currently constructing the biggest astro turf facility for Accra Academy. Funded by Skipper Asamoah Gyan for his alma mater, it is to project sporting activities in second cycle schools within the Greater Accra Region.
Mr Coleman foretold that his outfit would team up with the Adentan Municipal Assembly, Tema Municipal, AMA, Awutu-Effutu-Senya Assembly, Ashaiman Assembly among others to build 10 more turfs in the coming year and 30 more by 2018 across the country.
The projects are currently supported by the Union Savings and Loans.