Sports Features of Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Source: Chronicle

The Patched Field At the Ohene Djan Stadium Is Shaming the Nation


The Ghana Premier league is beginning to attract international attention. According to the latest ratings by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), the world governing body on football, the local league is ranked sixth best in Africa. In the entire world, the Glo-Premier league is ranked 65th strongest.

There is every indication that the Premier League would improve further. Yesterday, the match sold by Kumasi Asante and Liberty Professionals at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, gave a lot of hope for the future. Unlike the drab pattern-less games that have been sold to followers of the game in the local league of late, both Kotoko and Liberty tried to play the game as an entertainment spectacle.

The Chronicle, though, was not impressed by the state of the pitch, which clearly exhibited its over exposure to the dry Harmattan season. All over the pitch, the green grass had given way to pockets of withering weeds, which colour had turned brown. Obviously, the grass had not been watered for some time now. And with the dry season at its peak, the pitch is withering.

Though we are in the dry season, we do not believe that water is in such a short supply that the National Sports Authority, which manages all stadia in Ghana on behalf of the state, could not afford the cost of watering the nation's leading arena for sports promotion.

When the Ohene Djan Stadium underwent renovation for the staging of the 2008 African Cup of Nations, provision was made for watering the pitch. Pipes were laid under the soil to make it easier for water to be sprinkled on the grass.

We are at a loss as to why the pitch at the nation's leading sports arena could not be watered. On Thursday night, when the Black Stars played Egypt in Abu Dhabi, followers of the game on television saw a velvet green field, which made it easier for the ball to move around. Incidentally, Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates, is in the Middle of the desert,

Like most Ghanaian soccer lovers, The Chronicle is worried stiff about the nature of our various sporting arenas being sold to the world through the Glo-Premier League, The reason is simple. Those manning the National Sports Authority appear to be unable to rise up to the task entrusted to them.

Last year, a committee appointed by the Ministry of Sports to investigate various aspects of Ghana's participation in the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo, came out with damning report of corruption and crooked dealings within the leadership of the then National Sports Council, which metamorphosed into the National Sports Authority, after the amendment of the law governing sport promotion in the country.

Nearly one year after the report was published, no action has been taken. What this means is that corruption as a canker underpinning sports promotion, is enjoying the blessing of the powers that be.

Even then, The Chronicle is of the view that the new authority could afford water to make the grass at the Ohene Djan Stadium greener. We do not believe the authorities at the NSA need to be reminded of their responsibilities before watering the Ohene Djan Stadium.

The other day, when a few activists in the Ga Lobby agitated for a change of name of the stadium, those earning their salaries as managers of sports, on behalf of the nation, quickly responded by putting a new sign board at the entrance to the nation's leading arena for sports promotion.

The Chronicle is taking this opportunity to remind authorities at the Stadium that they have shamed the country enough, in the eyes of the international community, by week-in and week-out exposing the patched nature of our fields through the telecast of the Glo-Premier league. In the name of the republic, The Chronicle is inviting them to be mindful of the harm they are doing to the image of Ghana football.

Please get the pitch at the Ohene Djan Stadium watered. We do not believe it would deplete national coffers to do so!