Editorial: The sheer madness at National Sports Authority must stop now!

The National Sports Authority (NSA) recently issued a statement announcing the closure of the Accra Sports Stadium for two weeks. According to the state organisation, they will use the period to carry out renovation works at the stadium. Consequently, Accra Hearts of Oak, Great Olympics, Accra Lions and Legon Cities, which use the Accra stadium to host their Ghana Premier League home games, were asked to look for temporary venues.

Accra Lions has since opted to play their matches at Sogakope in the Volta region, whilst Accra Hearts Oak is reportedly going to use Cape Coast Stadium. We are being told Great Olympics and Legon Cites have also decided to use El Wak Stadium, which is adjacent the Kotoka International Airport.

But as Ghanaians await the supposed renovation works to start, pictures have emerged on social media about an erection of a podium on the playing field of the stadium, apparently for a musical show.

This clearly shows that the NSA lied to Ghanaians when it issued a statement to indicate that it was going to carry out renovation works at the stadium.

It is instructive to note that this is not the first time the NSA has pulled such a serious prank on Ghanaians. They have adopted similar strategy in the past.

The Chronicle is, however, surprised that the appointing authorities do not see anything wrong with the way the NSA is managing our national assets.

Football is not only a global game, but it is also playing a special role of ensuring peace and harmony in the world.

Without football, all the premier league players and their counterparts from the First and Second Divisions would have been thrown onto the streets without any jobs. Since the devil always find work for idle hands, some of these youth would have become social miscreants terrorising law abiding citizens.

This is the reason why connoisseurs of the game are worried about the way our football has taken a nose dive in the country. Accra Hearts of Oak recently conceded as many as ten away goals during their recent Africa campaign to their North Africa opponents.

Obviously, the latter have moved a notch higher than us in terms of quality football and materials at their disposal. We are in this mess because Ghanaians have stopped patronising local league matches for these clubs to raise the needed funds to attract quality players and to remunerate the players well. This has resulted in the exodus of players to less fancied leagues.

A thorough analysis of the situation will reveal that people have stopped patronising the local league matches due to poor pitches, which make it virtually impossible for the boys to exhibit quality football.

If the NSA was indeed set up to promote sporting activities in the country, this issue about poor pitches ought to have attracted its attention. But this is not the case, as the NSA is rather trying to destroy what their predecessors laboured to build or put in place.

Yes, football is supposed to be a private initiative, but that argument can only be made in Europe and not in Africa. Teams in Europe have their own stadia, but that is not the case in Africa, as most of the clubs depend on pitches and stadia constructed by the state to play their matches. Hearts of Oak, legally speaking, is a private entity but President Akufo-Addo recently gave them GH¢1 million on behalf of the state. The reason state money was splashed on a private entity is because the president himself has recognised the role football is playing in the development of this country.

If the president himself has recognised this, then on what basis is his own appointee supervising the collapse of the game in the country? Accra Sports Stadium as it stands now is purposely to host football matches and nothing more. The state, in her own wisdom constructed the National Theatre as the venue where entertainment programmes can be hosted. Apart from the National Theatre, the Black Star Square (Independence Square) is also there to host entertainment programmes.

The Chronicle is, therefore, surprised that the NSA could not direct those seeking to use the stadium for outdoor musical concert to any of these venues. To make matters worse, the concert organisers have erected stands on the playing field itself without first using tarpaulin to cover the grass, as it is done in Europe and elsewhere.

By the time the concert is over, the whole pitch will be destroyed and playing football on it will not be attractive. The big question is, are we interested in money or the development of football which brings joy to every Ghanaian home?

In view of the concerns we have expressed, The Chronicle is calling on President Akufo-Addo who is holding all national assets in trust for the people to personally get involve and stop the NSA from further deteriorating the standard of football in Ghana.

Accra Sports Stadium was built with the tax payers’ money. It is not a private facility that must focus on profit making at the expense of the purpose for which it was put up. What is going on at the NSA is sheer madness and must be stopped now!


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