MINISTER FOR Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, has stated that the government’s investment in sports infrastructure has begun to pay off, noting that Ghana now has about 100 athletes who have qualified for Commonwealth games.
“Government policy is to ensure that every constituency in Ghana gets an Astro Turf to move from sport promotion to sport development. And if we have to achieve this policy, we have to get infrastructure at the basic level improved so that we can develop talents for our national teams,” he said.
Answering questions on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, the Sport Minister noted, “Today, we are having a record number of athletes qualifying for Commonwealth games in Birmingham because of our huge investment. We have almost 100 athletes.”
Mr. Ussif reiterated the government’s policy on sporting infrastructure, pointing out that the Astro Turf pitches are one of the alternative ways of providing standard football pitches in selected communities throughout the country.
According to him, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has initiated the ‘One Constituency One Astro Turf Policy’ in order to ensure that every constituency in the country is provided with the modern pitches.
He intimated that the Nkawkaw Constituency in the Eastern Region would certainly be considered in the sports development policy initiative, asserting, “The Ministry is seriously pursuing this agenda to promote decent sporting activities in the country to unearth talent for international competition.”
Mr. Ussif, who is also the NPP MP for Yagaba-Kubori in the North East Region, said sod-cutting for the Nkawkaw Sports Stadium was done on September 18, 2020 by his predecessor, Isaac Asiamah, and that work commenced, but had to be paused for architectural review on some sections of the stadium, including the sitting capacity, athletic oval, and dressing rooms.
“Currently, the architectural review has been completed and it is expected that the contractor would move to site in the shortest possible time for work to continue,” he disclosed.
He added that the facility would be an 8,000-seater FIFA Standard Football Stadium, with a multi-purpose court for more than 16 sporting disciplines, tennis court, a gymnasium, an IAAF (world athletics) standard track, hostels, a restaurant, among others.
According to the minister, the estimated cost of the project is GH?27 million, noting that “the project would be in two phases with the first phase costing GH?14 million and the second phase costing GH?13 million.”
He added that the funding is from the Middle Belt Development Authority, and that the Sports Complex is expected to be completed within a two-year period.
BY Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House