The government of Ghana together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports announced intentions to establish a games village worth $200million to host athletes and games for the 2023 edition of the African Games.

In February of this year, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, also revealed plans to convert the intended 50,000 capacity stadium, into a sports university.

However steps for the construction of the games village, and its conversion into a sports university, hit a snag with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

After consultation with management of the University of Ghana, Ussif revealed that his ministry will adopt the university’s campus as the game village in 2023.

“What the government has decided is to ask the university, – and the university graciously accepted – to use the university as the games village. That is to use it to accommodate the over 6,000 athletes, officials and journalists that will be coming to participate in the games.

“It will demand the government to upgrade those facilities that are required from the university. So we put in a request for the University of Ghana Enterprise Limited (UGEL) facilities, and the permission was given to us to engage UGEL and make sure we get the schedule for the refurbishments and renovation works that are needed to be done,” the minister added.

All 53 affiliate members of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) participate in the games, and as a result the African Games, previously known as the All African Games, attracts athletes and related stakeholders from across Africa.

Meaning in 2023, Ghana will make reception of a large number of individuals for the games, and consequently, the minister revealed intentions to employ the services of other hostel facilities on the university of Ghana campus, in compliment of the UGEL facilities.

“We’ve realized that the UGEL facilities will not be able to house the entire team. The whole concept is to bring the entire team to one center, so they can connect and network even during the games. So revision of our notes demands we’ll put in a request again for the International students hostel, the graduate hostels, and the new Sarbah annex,” Ussif said.

The minister in June 2021, revealed plans to employ the services of the uncompleted university of Ghana sports stadium, after the inability to start and complete construction of the proposed games village in Borteyman.

As a result, the minister for Youth and Sports has made known intentions to renovate the sports stadium, in preparation for the games.

“After getting the opportunity to host the games, the original idea was for us to build an Olympic village. The ministry through the LOC put in a request for the University to graciously give us a land – 100 acres land – that was the requirement to put up those facilities in the Olympic village at Borteyman. But in the MOU that I had an opportunity to go through, the ministry and the government was also to in return, complete the University of Ghana sports stadium which was started in 2008.

“But we all know our current circumstances globally, and that is the Covid circumstance. It did not allow us to put in the preparation to be able to put those facilities in time. So after careful study of the various options, government has decided that we’ll do an hybrid in terms of provision of infrastructure. Hybrid here means, we’ll leverage on the existing infrastructure we have in terms of housing, sports facilities, then we’ll provide those we don’t have at the current land the University of Ghana gave us. The first option is to complete the current University of Ghana sports stadium to meet international standards, so we’ll be able to use it to organize, and host the games,” the minister said.

Besides completing the sports stadium, the ministry for sports through the minister committed to renovating other sports facilities in the university, all in preparation for the games.

“What additionally will be done on the university is the rugby field that should also be satisfied by the International Rugby Federation” he added.

Speaking to Joy Sports, director of the University of Ghana sports directorate, Dr. Bella Bello Bitugu indicated that work on the facilities was already underway, hence is optimistic that the projects will be completed within the time frame.

“We have started [work] already. We are checking and gathering information, clearing the space and setting up so it has started already. We said we will finish in 12 months so we are looking at that. That was what we agreed,” Dr. Bitugu said.