Another well-delivered example of China’s stadium diplomacy brings Ghana to the spotlight. Let’s meet their latest stadium, one of our reasons to vote for Stadium of the Year.
Our first African stop on the list of reasons to vote for Stadium of the Year is Cape Coast. This central city is one of the fastest growing in Ghana, having tripled its population since 1984 (currently 160,000+). It was also one of the last major cities not to have a modern stadium. This was changed with Chinese aid in 2016.
The stunning scale of Chinese stadium diplomacy is enough to publish a book about, but let’s focus on how it affected Cape Coast: Chinese entities designed, financed and constructed Ghana’s latest stadium and, honestly, it shows. Its seating layout, the gently arched roof over west side – that’s Chinese, not Ghanaian.
Still, is that a high price to pay for a modern stadium “for free”? Surely not, especially for a city in which this is literally (!) the largest building. Together with surrounding plaza and parking spaces it occupies 9.3 hectares and it should be noted the entirety looks very well. Both the public plaza and stadium itself resemble a flower when viewed from above.
This impression doesn’t vanish when seen from pedestrian perspective thanks to the stadium’s concrete ramp surrounding the stands. It’s just solid concrete and yet its profiled in a way that seems light, almost fluid.
The ramp is large enough to provide shelter from rain, should fans decide to flee the stands (only the west is covered), but its primary role is different. It offers safe crowd circulation and access to the stadium, while also hiding underneath significant floor space of 16,400 m2. That’s enough not only for changing rooms and training facilities, but also classrooms.
Capacity of 15,000 is hardly impressive, but it’s also well beyond current needs of the city. Not only catering for Ebusua Dwarfs of the premier league, but also capable of holding major international tournaments in both football and athletics.