The pursuit of sports promotion in Ghana requires the availability and access to sports facilities to groom young daring talents. At Nyinahin, a community in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti region, sports enthusiasts and aspiring football players are peeved at the neglect of an almost complete multipurpose sports complex.
The room compartments are housing spiders and cobwebs, while air-conditioners and ceiling fans are rusting.
Dampness and moulds are eating the white paint-coated walls giving the walls some greenish-brown unpleasant look of distress.
The football pitch is strangled by weeds, with risky pits. Parts of it get muddy during the rainy season which is unfavourable for footballing.
In 2017, the government through the ministry of youth and sports announced a plan to construct 10 youth and sports centres in 10 regions.
Unfortunately, in the Ashanti region, the Nyinahin sports complex sits abandoned.
The Nyinahin Sports complex is a 10-minute drive from the main entrance to town which is home to Isaac Asiamah, a former sports minister, and current Member of Parliament for the area.
The government spent around $2.5 million to construct these 10 complexes.
All ten facilities, when completed, will house an 8-lane athletic track, a FIFA standard pitch, a career counselling centre, basketball and handball courts as well as a multi-purpose sports hall, a restaurant and an ICT centre. The mini-stadium can seat up to 5,000 people.
The news was received with a grand durbar. Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in 2019 expressed delight at the progress of work.
Budding football talents in Nyinahin are anxious their dreams to represent the country on the international front could be in jeopardy.
They are enraged, saying the current state of the complex is not promoting sports as intended but causing financial loss to the state.
The youth are threatening a demonstration.
“These boys are good at football and need a football park to exhibit their skills. Yet, it (the complex) has been left to harbour farm animals. We have nowhere to play football, except the backyards. As the youth in Atwima Mponua, we are unhappy with what is happening, and it would be a lie if we say we are not,” they said.
Kwabena Karikari is the assembly member for the Nyinahin Junction electoral area. He is a pioneer footballer who owns a second-division sports club, Wise Academy.
He is unhappy opportunities for young talents have been restrained by poor performance and diminishing quality coaching.
"Because there's no proper park, the players report late. The big size of the football pitches in Kumasi overwhelm my players, affecting their performance,” he stated.
The youth are aggrieved by the situation.
President Akufo-Addo during the 2020 State of the Nation Address, assured the 10 youth and sports centres of excellence would be completed in 2020.
“All ten would be completed this year (2020)”, he said.
According to the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth, sports are a vital key to youth development and a medium that facilitates a culture of peace and teamwork.
I chanced on students weeding a portion of the pitch.
This happens every term when students and the sports team of Nyinahin Catholic Senior High School come here to prepare the place for their sporting activities despite the dangers of incurring serious bruises.
Speaking to Luv FM’s Clinton Yeboah, Sports Master for the Nyinahin Catholic SHS, George Owusu said they have no choice but to utilize the place even in its grave state.
“We ran on tracks at the stadiums in Kumasi, imagine we have to train on gravel. It's not good, but half a loaf is better than none. This is the standard pitch compared to the park in our school,” he said.
Fifi Manfred, a LuvFM Sports Analyst, believes not much has been done to support youth in sports.
He proposes investments are directed into young sports talents.
According to him, a tangible government-backed policy appears to be a more feasible solution to mitigate the wastage.
“We need a government-backed policy in general on how to nurture young talents. We can go back to schools to pick young talents. In doing so we need the facilities and the technical know-how.
"There should be a constitutionally supported policy that ensures that sports development plans are followed by all governments,” he said.
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