It's almost unbelievable to what extent one can neglect a stadium. In just over a decade the showcase Cup of Nations venue of of 2008 has turned into what's called a 'death trap'! It might not be that serious yet, but we don't know because it hasn't had a security check.
When it was opened just before the 2008 Cup of Nations, it wasn't exactly finished. And sure, it has the very same design as another new stadium in Ghana. Still, the Sekondi-Tekoradi Stadium (now known mostly as Essipong Stadium), was among the best in this part of Africa at that time. Since then a lot has changed and only for the worse, unfortunately.
For almost 5 years now articles alarming about its dire state have been circulating in the media both locally and nationally. Ever since the roof began falling apart in 2014, things began looking serious. Well, for the media and locals, not for the government.
Since its opening the only significant repairs were done by... FOX Sports, the American television which wanted to host a game here. It turned out that by 2017 the elevator was broken, the giant screen didn't work, neither did the floodlights. All of this was fixed for some $50,000, a drop in the sea compared to initial construction cost of $38.5 million.
The stadium has been suffering from absolute neglect by the operator (regional authorities, though funding was to come from central authorities) since its opening. It hasn't helped that the quality of delivered works was poor despite considerable pricing. Another problem is the coast located nearby, which brings wind with sea salt, catalysing corrosion.
We've checked satellite images and indeed the roof began losing its sheeting in 2014. Along with it rust came into the stadium and leaky roof brought moisture and other issues indoors. In recent days sports journalist Francis Doku visited the stadium and shared his images and shock at what he saw during an event.
Today the number of missing tin sheets is especially worrying in the east, the side most exposed to high winds. The thin steel truss is heavily covered with rust in some areas, prompting media to call it a death trap. That claim may be exagerrated for now, however there is no trust in authorities monitoring the situation since no reaction came in 5 years since alarm was first raised.
Some seats are missing, the bullpens are vandalised, running track and the field are both in very poor condition. That's really a lot. We are, after all, talking about a 20,000-seater built just 10 years ago for a considerable amount.
For that reason Francis Doku didn't hide his disappointment. “Ladies and gentlemen, here below are photos of Essipong Stadium at Sekondi. This was one of the stadiums built for the CAF 2008. Here is your tax property after 10 years.”
The journalist used facebook to tag and publicly address three Mps from Western Ghana and appeal for them to intervene with the Minister of Youth and Sports. As of now, 48 hours later, there has been no public response.
It should be noted that money isn't as much of an issue as non-Ghanaians might presume. The rapidly growing country is just now building 10 sports complexes in its regions. But as much as politicians like to cut ribbons, maintenance is something no-one wants to pay for.
The culture of complete neglect affects all major stadiums in Ghana, not only those built a decade ago. Opened in 2016, the Cape Coast stadium was found in alarmingly dire state already in 2017.
Ladies and gentlemen, here below are photos of Essipong Stadium at Sekondi. This was one of the stadiums built for the CAF 2008. Here is your tax property after 10 years.Opublikowany przez Francis Doku Sobota, 12 stycznia 2019