If you mistakenly assume that the National Sports Authority (NSA) has an active, functioning policy, that allows it to preside over the situation where facilities at state sports infrastructure are subjected to the most undesirable treatment only for repairs afterwards, you can be pardoned.
There’s no such policy, but on the evidence of what we’ve seen this year and in the past, the NSA, relative to its management of the Accra Sports Stadium, would allow anything for revenue expedition only to come back to use the funds generated from renting the stadium to repair damaged things like the pitch and others.
That life is akin to that of a prostitute who uses money gained from sexual promiscuity to treat STIs. Of what benefit is that? The repair doesn’t even guarantee the previous state of affairs and the patchy maintenance leads to more ruin. Current photos of the Accra Sports Stadium pitch authenticate this view. The once lush green turf now casts the image of a tired, brown and horrible surface.
It’s wanton destruction. NSA legitimises it. It wants money to wet its arid coffers if not grow fat in its lean bank account. So football, which often fetches nothing substantial all year, has no place on the pitch during the Yuletide. Significant showbiz events take over. The pitch therefore comes under the mercy of heavy equipment and hordes of human feet in all manner of footwear. The harmattan aggravates the situation.
We can argue why the NSA wouldn’t stop hiring the stadium for events other than football. I’ve no qualms. It’s unacceptable, however, why the NSA wants us to think that, for instance, there can be no covering of the pitch to absorb pressure and further save it from inevitable, unbridled movements of human feet and equipment.
The NSA shouldn’t be reckless in its management of facilities under its care and turn around to preach on maintenance culture when it’s the same entity that ensures no proper culture of maintenance. Having the pitch destroyed, for, after all, there would be re-grassing, is a form of mismanagement. The NSA can reduce the damage caused and repair costs with appropriate management steps.
Claims of leadership and management dearth or inertia at the NSA are undisputable when you look at the issues of state sports infrastructure and their maintenance countrywide. The NSA stands accused and it must work harder to maintain proper standards regarding facilities under its purview. The current situation is disturbing.
The one-time beautiful Essipong Stadium is deteriorating. The Finance Minister’s 2021 budget, which said that Essipong stadium renovation was 90% complete, was false. In March, we struggled to meet FIFA standards for a venue for the World Cup playoff against Nigeria. Not much has changed since then.
It doesn’t look like we’ve learnt any lesson from the near-embarrassing moment of Ghana not having a suitable stadium for an international game involving the Black Stars. Even now we aren't out of the woods yet regarding that issue and we rather seem to be destroying the Accra stadium pitch the more. What kind of football nation are we?