Sports in an area without the requisite infrastructure and equipment is like a human subsisting on an unbalanced diet, indeed growth for that human would be sloppy. So therefore, sporting activities in that area would be sloppy.
The lack of sporting infrastructure represents a major setback for all round sports development in the Volta region. Sport is just not sports standing on its own. It impacts every sector of life.
Sports facilities, therefore, could bring certain dynamics in the economy of the geographical area of location. There are fallouts in the social and environmental areas as well. There is also the aesthetic, feeling good and safe, whiles competing or cheering on, in a beautiful scenario.
Sport is growing steadily so the approach towards sporting infrastructure development must tow same lane and pace.
In the Volta region, it’s not so contenting to speak about sporting facilities, it is either the facilities are deteriorating or not there at all.
The Ho Sports Stadium, the biggest sporting facility is located in the capital and central part of the Volta region and so popular among the people. It’s as old as Ghana and run off the mill. Built in 1957, the stadium has not seen any form of renovation works.
The Ho Sports Stadium, till date, remains the only regional facility the populace can boast of. The facility houses broken chairs, dilapidated dressing rooms, cracked walls, patched fields, worn equipment, and has no water.
The Ho sports stadium is either flooded or disrupted by rains, since the stands have no reliable shelters.
The only way the region’s biggest sporting facility gets some money for routine maintenance is to rent out the space for church programs, at the expense of sporting activities. The neglect of a befitting sporting structure for the people of the Volta region is affecting other sports.
Sports federation heads and athletes, therefore, use their personal resources to fund pitches and activities, just to keep them active. The existing basketball, handball and tennis courts are actively running through the efforts of yearning sportsmen, hungry for success.
In a bid to get an alternative, a five thousand capacity Youth Resource Center is being built close to Ho, in Nuwumu, to supplement the unbefitting sporting structures the region currently has.
Contractors are currently on site; work is steadily progressing, with challenges from frequent downpours though. The state of sporting infrastructures in the northern and southern part of the region is pathetic.
The only time folks from these parts of the region get an opportunity of using the decrepit facility in Ho, is when there are regional competitions or school sports activities.
The journey from Kete-Krachi, the northern most district capital to Ho is about five and half hours and Keta to Ho is 2 hours 15 minutes. To keep fit and active, sports men and women use other private facilities ahead of competitions as alternative.
These facilities are not close to the recommended sports standard.
The Kpando Park in Kpando, Akatsico Park in Akatsi, Red Bull Arena in Sogakofe and parks belonging to basic school, training colleges and open spaces, are used in the absence of standardized sporting facilities.
With the current situation, a sports man or woman must travel several kilometers to Ho to have a feel of a training infrastructure.
This is stressful!
It is time to get some sports facilities for the northern districts and southern districts to give sportsmen, women and enthusiasts, some respite.
The Volta region, indeed critically needs stadia that would curtail the stress of travelling long stretches just to take part in competitions. One can only be driven by passion to conquer the challenges surrounding the absence of sporting infrastructures.
From the look of things, government is tight and the onus falls on the private sector to help nurture young talents in the region. Such facilities would ease pressure on state owned facilities.
The Lizzy Sports Complex, a sports facility, training and development center in Accra, is owned by ex- French footballer Marseille Dasailly. The Asamoah Gyan sports complex, built by Blackstars skipper, Asamoah Gyan for his alma-mater is another example.
Government’s Nuwumu project, a USD 2.4 Million, 5000 capacity Youth Resource Center would be a big asset for the people of the Volta region.
When completed, it would accommodate a FIFA standard football pitch, an eight lane athletic track, handball, basketball, volleyball, table-tennis courts and a gymnasium. The facility will also have an ICT Center, a modern restaurant, an entrepreneurship and counseling center. It is not known how soon the edifice would be completed.
Central government, Yes! But the role of the private sector in sports infrastructure development is crucial to sports development in the Volta region. I believe municipal and district assemblies should be nudged to join sports development, they are the local governors.
When all sectors play their part in getting stadia for the region, the people as well as authorities must be ready and patriotic enough to maintain and safeguard the edifice.
Story by ACORLOR ELINAM TILDA.