National Sports Authority Must Sit Up

I was at the Accra Sports Stadium last Friday 23rd May, 2014 to watch the farewell match organized by Primeval Consult for the Black Stars against the ‘Dream Team,’ a team of selected players from the domestic leagues and I have personally made certain observations which I would like to share with you all on the poor state of some of the facilities at the Accra Sports Stadium. First of all, the scoreboard at the stadium was still not functioning, a situation which was there for almost over two (2) years now. Over two (2) seasons of local league have been played at the same venue, with over hundreds of events held but it seems the National Sports Authority has no clue to rectifying the fault on the scoreboard. This situation I think the Ghanaian press have done their best to draw the attention of all the authorities involved but it fell on deaf ears for them all this while. Secondly, it’s surprising to note that only quarter of the flood lights at the Accra Sports Stadium were functioning correctly. This affected visibility during that match. The whole field was partially dark. As I counted the bulbs on the poles out of about over fifty bulbs per the flood light poles at the four corners of the stadium only a maximum of eighteen to twenty (18-20) bulbs were functioning correctly on a pole that night. It’s so amazing that we live in a country where we have so soon forgotten about that famous ‘Black Friday’ at the Kumasi Sports Stadium when all the lights went off at the Baba Yara Stadium in that 7-0 famous win over Lesotho in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. Ghana! Let’s be proactive for once and stop that ‘chaos to happen before acting’ attitude. In addition, I observed that light bulbs at certain portions of the stadium were not functioning which rendered those portions of the stadium dark. Especially the bulbs under the stairs leading to the media stand at the stadium were not functioning at all. The whole place looked dark and this poses a serious security threat to the media personnel who use that portion of the stadium. Be mindful that someone can attack a journalist when we create haven for these things. You see even some of the stadium security men don’t even know their job. They allow people who are not journalists to climb to the media stand, but will rather refuse a journalist without accreditation but with credible press ID card and a paid VVIP ticket from going to the media stand. They see whites more superior to their own black people. I have also observed that the Bukom Banku – Ayitey powers bout also affected portions of the pitch especially at the press conference end of the field. I hope the national sports authority has charged for the use of the facility. So after use of the facility whose responsibility is it to put it back to its original shape? Furthermore I have observed that rust has affected some of the metals, bolts and knots at the stadium. This I know it’s obvious for all to see and journalists have talked about it all year around. But to be frank, on most occasions I have visited the washroom especially the one at the VIP/VVIP/Media stand water keep flowing except on only few occasions but what I have observed was that the people who use the washroom always mess up the place, a typical Ghanaian attitude towards public properties. One thing I also observed that night which was not linked to the National Sports Authority is that giant rubber replica world cup trophy over twenty feet (20ft) tall that was displayed at the back of the goal post at the Accra International Conference Centre end of the field that blocked the view of the spectators from that direction who had paid to watch football and not rubber trophy. Just imagine what would have happened to those spectators if the stadium was filled to full capacity. It’s time we learned from others and do things right. That thing should have been displayed outside the stadium. So my questions are; 1. Do the National sports Authority charge for the use of all the various stadia? 2. Who is responsible for the maintenance of the various stadia, NSA or Ministry of youth and sports? 3. Is the National Sports Authority aware of these problems at some of these stadia? 4. How much would it cost to maintain the flood lights, the rust and the score board at the Accra Sports stadium? 5. What does the sports Authority uses the revenue it generated from percentages and charges for the use of the various stadia for? Only their staff salaries as they claimed? 6. Is the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah aware of these problems? If not I think he saw some of the problems last Friday when he was at the stadium. After the 2008 Africa Nations’ Cup, when was the last time these stadia have undergone any major maintenance works? Relatively, who also takes care of the maintenance of the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex in Accra? When was the last time you visited the sports complex? Please do visit and you will cry! But you see when there are clear problems and you talk or write about them people who act as “GURU BOYS” for these people in authority will either call or write back to insult you for speaking the truth. It’s time we Ghanaians change our attitude and approach problems with nationalistic approach. Kudos to selfless Journalists like Dan Kweku Yeboah and particularly Patrick Osei Agyemang aka Countryman Songo, man! I like your style keep the fire blazing. He is one of the few sports journalists I admire so much. I think the National Sports Authority must set aside some percentage of the revenues they derive from these stadia proceeds for the maintenance works. As much as they are interested in their monthly staff salaries they must also put the maintenance of the various stadia in mind and know that if these stadia collapsed there will not be salaries for them anymore. What will happen after these facilities collapsed is that state tax revenues meant for national development projects will rather be channeled into these maintenance works at these stadia. When Madam Alice Attipoe took over as the Acting Director General of the National Sports Authority, I thought things were going to change for better because she is a woman. But almost two years down the lane and things are almost the same although there is no denying that she has done her best. The Sports Ministry must also assist in putting back these facilities back to shape and stop focusing all its attention on the Black Stars because the National Sports Authority always claim that revenues they generate from the various stadia is woefully inadequate and all goes into paying staff salaries. Madam Attipoe, please you and your people must sit up and focus your attention on the maintenance of the various stadia in the country. They are all we got, thank you very much.