On the surface and from a distance, it looks green.
But even then, it looks like a giant fork has been used to scrape sections off it.
And Asamoah Gyan is not happy with the state of Ghana’s national stadium with days to their first 2017 Afcon qualifier.
“The pitch was not good enough. It made even ball control very difficult,” he said “But I believe our target was met and we’re happy to go into the main encounter against Mauritius in good spirit.”
The Black Stars defeated Togo 1-0 in a friendly on Monday. Bernard Mensah, on his debut, scored a 30-yard goal in a game where Mubarak Wakaso was sent off. But the pitch resembled a spruced potato patch.
‘Cash came late’
“We only got funding to buy the fertilizer and other things on Friday,” said Frank Boahene, who is in charge of maintaining the pitch, which had almost collapsed a month ago (pictured).
“We took the water level and all only in the last few days. I admit the optimal thing would have been to start a few weeks ago.”
Speaking to Joy Sports Track , Boahene expressed optimism that by kickoff on Sunday, the facility will be in even better condition for the qualifier. However, he was quick to urge authorities to be more pro-active in getting funding on time for such important national engagements.
Another potential problem that could affect the surface is rain – Ghana’s capital has seen a lot of it in the past week. 150 people died in flooding and fire related disasters last Wednesday.
“We are working on all such potential situations so that the ground can take an appreciable amount of water on the day,” the contractor assured.
Gyan’s fears may be founded also the fact that apart from the daily training sessions ahead of the qualifier, the local top flight is slated to have a big game on Saturday between Hearts of Oak and Great Olympics.
‘Owners can’t cope’
The National Sports Authority has notoriously laboured to maintain not just the pitch but the entire stadium. The problem has mostly been due to a lack of access to needed funding.
Joy Sports checks showed that the washrooms are in a poor state, while the electronic scoreboard does not work altogether. Officials, who did not want to be quoted, said everything possible is being done to get all the facilities up to speed before this weekend’s qualifier.
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Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith
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