|Audio Attachment:Listen to Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye|
“The pitch has been named after her (Madam Theodosia) but the stadium is in the name of the late Professor. The facility in the stadium and the whole environment has been named after him (President Mills)…the hockey stadium is now going to be known as Prof John Evans Atta Mills Hockey Stadium but when you enter the stadium, the pitch is there and that will be in her name: (Madam Theodosia Okoh Pitch). It has not changed,” disclosed the Accra Mayor, Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye.
This statement comes in wake of the debate surrounding the re-naming of the National Hockey Pitch by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
The Assembly changed the name on Tuesday, July 24 in honour of late President John Evans Atta Mills and to commemorate his one year passing on.
Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye indicated that the facility which was formerly a stadium will now be known as John Evans Atta Mills Hockey Stadium to honour him for his contribution to Hockey in the country.
One can recall that the Accra High Street, the first Millennium City School at the Salvation Army Cluster of Schools and the Asomdwee Park has already been named after the late President Mills.
Many have disagreed with the change of name because according to them, the facility is already in the name of another illustrious Ghanaian: Madam Theodosia Okoh, designer of Ghana’s National Flag.
Speaking to Kwami Sefa Kayi, who is strongly against the change of name in an interview, Mr Vanderpuiye said the decision to re-name the facility was implemented after several meetings with the Assembly, hockey players as well as other stakeholders; ‘and they were all in support of it’.
According to him, even though the name has not been written on the pitch, sports analyst and commentators will mention her name when reporting on hockey matches or tournaments.
“If you are a sportsman and you are writing a sports report about a game, you will make reference to the pitch. That is one symbol which must stay and not change. We will work with the authorities to make sure that, that does not change...We will continue to dialogue with the officials and the association to see how that will really stay…that will not be a problem. The most important thing is that we will continue to refer to the pitch by her name. What she did was a good thing and we have not taken that away from her. It is still in her name…” he noted.
He urged sports commentators and writers to mention her name in their report.
They should say that the match was played on Madam Theodosia pitch so that her name will continue to be associated with the hockey pitch.
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