The Accra Sports Stadium, formerly known as the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium was built in 1961 and Inuagrated in 1962 by Ghana’s first President after Independence, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
The first football match played on the field was between a selected side in Accra (Accra XI) against their counterparts from Kumasi (Kumasi XI) under the leadership of the first Director of Sports in the Country, Ohene Djan.
The Accra Sports Stadium received a massive facelift prior to the African Cup of Nations in 2008 and was renamed the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium. However, the change of name was massively opposed by the Ga people, the custodians of the land. On June 16, 2011, the name ‘Ohene Djan Stadium’ on the stadium building was changed to ‘Accra Sports Stadium’ without any official announcement by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly supported by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government who had then won power over the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under whose tenure the stadium was renovated.
The beautiful architecture was designed by Bulgarian architect Alexander Barov and managed by the National Sports Authority. The Stadium has a FIFA standard Football pitch, multi-purpose hall, Basket Ball court, Lawn Tennis court and Conference Rooms.
The Stadium has the capacity to host over 40,000 spectators. It is the home grounds for the Most Successful club in terms of the FA Cup, Accra Hearts of Oak, Accra Great Olympics, and Accra Lions and sometimes serve as alternative grounds for Dansoman Liberty Professional and Legon Cities. The Accra Sports Stadium sometimes is used to host religious, entertainment and political events.
The Accra Sports Stadium can be located in Osu. An enclave for ministries and other government agencies like the Ghana Revenue Authority Head Office, Volta River Authority, Ghana Water Company Limited, Accra International Conference Center and the Parliament of Ghana.
All You Need To Know Before The Stadium Was Opened To Host AWCON 2018
The first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah made a very profound statement that the black man is capable of managing his own affairs but whether his assertion is a statement of fact or one meant to titillate the public is evident for us to see.
60 years on, after independence, the current state of sporting infrastructure is not anything one can boast of. Before the nations cup in 2008, Ghana had two national stadia in Accra and Kumasi. The two stadia saw massive renovation in their capacity and facilities since it was constructed in 1961 but are very sad today that the once-upon-a-time state-of-the-art facility in Accra has now become a death trap due to its deplorable state.
Football fans who throng the stadium are at risk of disaster in case the facilities collapse on a match day. As a designated venue for some of the 2008 African Cup of Nations matches, the stadium was rebuilt, upgraded and modernized to meet FIFA standards. Work on the stadium was completed in October 2007. It was inaugurated on the 11th of November 2007 with a four-nation tournament that Ghana won (the Zenith Cup).
The stadium is also the home of one of Africa’s most popular clubs, Hearts of Oak as well as Great Olympics, but Ghana’s national team matches are sometimes played there. During the 2000 African Cup of Nations in Ghana and Nigeria, the stadium hosted 9 matches and was also the venue of 1978 final.
In my quest to know the state of the rusty nature of the stadium, I had an encounter with one of the engineers who work at the stadium, he made a lot of revelations and to my surprise, he asserted that the rusty nature of the stadium isn’t too dangerous because the corrosion has taken place just on the surface of the iron but the core remains solid but was quick to attribute it to the sea breeze.
Veteran sports scribe, Nana Ampomah, ‘Sankofa Gold Coast’ debunked those claims and advised the public not to take it as an excuse “rusting starts from the surface so it is gradually getting to the body and if you don’t take care, eventually it will rust totally” he opined. Corrosion is like a sore, if it is not treated on time, it gets bigger and bigger.
The National Sports Authority in my view is just a nonexistent body because of its sheepish attitude towards the facilities. The Authority itself is unable to generate funds to pay utility bills. I dare not talk about how best the authority can curb this escalating danger. Over the last few years, different directors have been appointed to manage the affairs of the authority but it seems they lack the expertise to fix the problem.
A reasonable percentage is deducted from gate proceeds from clubs who use the facilities and for other sporting and non-sporting events but former director general of the authority Mr Worlanyo Agrah claimed that the revenue is not enough to sustain the activities of the authority let alone fix the problem.
The looming danger seems not to be too much of a concern to the authorities. Several attempts to speak to the authorities proved futile but couldn’t deter me from putting these pieces together.
I couldn’t have agreed more with Mr Worlanyo Agrah when he said in other to get enough funds to manage the stadium; you will need a few clouts.” You need a little bit of clout to get money from the government, in my case when it comes to difficult situations, I could go to the president to explain the rationale to him” he reiterated. It seems obvious that the current director general of the National Sports Authority, Mr Joe Kpenge lacks the clouts to influence the sports ministry and the presidency.
It is not surprising that the Electricity Company of Ghana has disconnected the power supply to the stadium. The sports authority as of now does not have electricity and it’s only the director general who uses a small generator as a source of power in other to run his office. It is a shame to know that the floodlights have malfunctioned for some years now and as I write now its condition is on the line and it may collapse anytime soon.
Almost everything made of iron at the stadium is in a devastating state now. A little research and survey show that most African countries are facing similar problems from corrosion but that can’t be used as a yardstick. The late Komla Dumor once made a statement that there is nothing like Ghanaian and African standards, standards are standards and that is the international standard.
Ghana as a country should change its maintenance culture and change the attitude of seeing things as normal whereas these problems can be dealt with before reaching a critical stage. A mini or partial closure of the facilities will spare time for the needed renovation. I don’t want to engage myself in the argument of who awarded the contract and who was supposed to win the contract but am worried because the old Accra sports stadium was more of a concrete work than iron but this current stadium has more iron compared to the old one.
My concern is whether the Architectural and Engineering Service Limited (AESL) failed to advise whoever was in charge of the construction. The stadium is just a few meters away from the sea shore and the AESL were aware of the threat and danger the salt in the sea poses to the metals used for the construction of the stadium. I want to believe it was agreed that consistent maintenance is required and it will be done for that matter.
It beats my imagination that continual painting could have done the trick and could have protected the metal from rusting, I keep asking myself some questions as to whether those at the helm of affairs are not aware of simple facility maintenance like washing, painting, cleaning and so on. The media stance, VIP section, scoreboard, CCTV cameras and floodlights are not human-friendly at all for fans and clubs who use the facilities. The washroom and the toilet facilities are just shameful.
One interesting revelation is that fixing the problem is not entirely about money but with some intelligence and connectivity the danger can be curtailed. Mr Worlanyo Agrah is of the view that if all hands come on deck, the devastating state of the stadium will be a thing of the past. “Some of these things do not need too much money but with a little wisdom and networking it can be resolved” he suggested.
The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it. I believe that every person, male or female, needs to be in a protective mode at all times of alertness to potential danger. The world is full of potential attacks, and potential disasters.
I, Emmanuel Asabere am a young up-and-coming journalist (at the time this article was first written in 2017) who is enthused with just the mere fact that he is a journalist or a storyteller for that matter but I’m wary of the danger and the threat the Accra sports stadium poses to journalists who run commentary on match days.
“As a young journalist, I saw the old Accra sports stadium, I heard and read about the May 9th disaster, the sort of ordeal victims went through that day is deterring enough for the Ghanaian populace to avoid any potential danger”.
Our president asked us to be citizens but not spectators, I, therefore, want to create awareness in others not to witness any disaster which is not worth reminiscing about. I want to conclude with the story of Mustapha Mahama who was an eyewitness to the May 9th disaster. He was in charge of the pitch as a groundsman and fortunately for him he was in the dressing when the whole thing started but was alerted by one of his colleagues that people are dying and he got terrified.
He regrets witnessing such an awful event and never again does he want to hear or witness that again. He chose to remain silent on the deplorable nature of the stadium as a sign of solidarity and loyalty but was quick to admit the looming danger of the stadium. “everything about this stadium is supported by iron but with no proper maintenance so it will, by all means, be dangerous, it is very risky but I think they will do something on it” he admitted Delay always breeds danger; and to protract a great design is often to ruin it. I encourage all stakeholders to add their voices to this subject.
To seek understanding before taking action, yet to trust my instincts when action is called for. Never to avoid danger from fear, never to seek out danger for its own sake. Never to conform to fashion from fear of eccentricity, never to be eccentric from fear of conformity. Never refuse an assignment except when there is a conflict of interest, a potential of danger to you or your family, or you hold a strongly biased attitude about the subject under focus.
Santos relegated to second tier after a dismal season
Following a disappointing season, Santos FC, one of Brazil’s most successful and storied teams, has been demoted to the country’s second division for the first time in its 111-year history.
Santos, which has produced some of football’s biggest stars like Pelé, Neymar, and Robinho, ended 17th in the 20-team Brasileiro standings with just 43 points.
The club’s relegation was sealed on Wednesday evening as they were defeated 2-1 at home by Fortaleza, leaving them unable to escape the drop zone. Santos failed to win any of their last five matches, sealing their destiny despite a late surge in form.
Santos, founded in 1912, has a long history in Brazilian football, winning several state and national trophies as well as two Copa Libertadores wins in 1962 and 1963.
However, this year’s relegation represents a new low point for the team, which has battled in recent seasons to maintain its previously outstanding standards.
The club’s collapse has been felt more painfully by its devoted fans, who have become accustomed to seeing their side compete at the top levels of local and international football.
Yusif Chibsah advises players to be cautious while negotiating contracts
Yusif Alhassan Chibsah, a former Ghana international, has advised young and future footballers to be cautious when it comes to contract talks.
Speaking at the third edition of Robert Smith Law Group’s Law for Society Public Seminar, which took place over the weekend at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, the former Asante Kotoko and King Faisal midfielder urged players to be patient and careful in contract talks.
“As a footballer contract negotiations are very important because it involves a lot,” Chibsah, who is now a FIFA intermediary agent said.
“You have to be cautious and patient because your agent will have to negotiate on your behalf and sometimes you would want more while your agent feels it is fine but it is all about understanding each other. Being cautious and patient is very key and I entreat every footballer and young player to note that,” he added.
Chibsah presently manages Asante Kotoko goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad and other players in the Ghana Premier League.
In collaboration with Asempa FM, the Robert Smith Law Group hosted the third edition of its Law for Society Public Seminar.
Black Stars needs proper preparation for the 2023 AFCON – Sammy Kuffour
Former footballer Samuel Osei Kuffour has warned the Black Stars that appropriate planning is required ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Ghana has qualified for the 34th edition of the AFCON, which will be held in Ivory Coast next year.
Kuffour, who played for the Black Stars in the 2006 World Cup, believes the squad has to strategize ahead of time.
He also recommended that Ghana’s best chance of winning the AFCON lay not in immediate preparations for the tournament in Ivory Coast, but in a well-thought-out plan designed to harness the potential of the country’s developing youthful stars for the following two editions.
“There is a difference between preparation and planning; we are always prepared, but we don’t plan. If you look at the team we took to the World Cup last year, 17 of the players were under 25,” the former Ghana and Bayern Munich defender stated in an interview with Peace FM.
“So why are we pushing ourselves to go to Ivory Coast to win the cup?” We need to think about 2025 or 2027 because how old will the athletes be by then? Because we do not plan, we prepare, but there is a distinction between planning and preparation, therefore we must plan correctly; we require planning rather than preparation,” he continued.
Ghana, a four-time AFCON winner, has had a 40-year hiatus in capturing the coveted crown.
For the competition, which runs from January 13 to February 11, the Black Stars have been placed in Group B with Egypt, Cape Verde, and Mozambique.
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