Gold Fields’ Dirty Politics Leaves Medeama ‘Homeless’
…As CAF Rejects Cape Coast Stadium For Club’s Home Games
The unfortunate decision by the mining giant, Gold Fields Ghana Limited, not to complete its10,400-seater capacity T&A Sports Stadium on time for Ghana Premier League champions, Medeama Sporting Club, to use for their home games in the CAF Champions League, has left the club presently homeless and desperately searching for a venue.
This was after the African football governing body, CAF, rejected the Cape Coast Stadium as unfit for use. It was an alternative venue of the club, which they used as their home during the preliminary stage of their CAF Champions League journey.
The rejection has come as a big blow to the team, leaving the management of the club with no option but resort to the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi as their only option, pending the approval by CAF.
The development has left supporters of the team, the playing body and the directors upset, after they had put their hopes on the Tarkwa and Abosso (T&A) Stadium to be completed, as projected.
The Cape Coast Stadium and the T&A Stadium were the two venues the club submitted to CAF as their home grounds for the 2023/24 season, following their qualification to the group stage, with the hope that Gold Fields Ghana will complete the stadium as scheduled for use.
At a media briefing last week, the Executive Secretary of the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation, Abdel-Razak Yakubu, claimed 90% of the work has been completed and the foundation plans to finish in the first quarter of 2024.
According to him, “more work needs to be done on the pitch, the external area, the roof, fixtures, public facilities and cladding, among other things, before the facility can be handed over to the Ghana National Sports Authority and the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly.”
But, according to the residents, the company’s explanation was simply an afterthought to water down the anger of the club’s supporters, who have been agitated.
They indicated that, if Gold Fields Ghana had genuinely wanted Medeama to use the stadium, knowing well that they had submitted the place to CAF as their home venue, the company would have done everything possible to finish the 10% work remaining.
Insiders told The Anchor, the company suddenly began dragging its feet on the project, after the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, George Mireku Duker, at a recent press briefing with the management of Medeama SC, announced that the club is hoping to commission the new stadium for their CAF matches.
This development comes at a time Gold Fields Ghana recently terminated its sponsorship arrangement with the team as the club’s headline sponsor, just when the club was doing well and had secured qualification to the group stage of the CAF Champions League.
The traditional leaders are also said to be unhappy with the strange behaviour of the mining company, considering the longstanding cordial relation that existed between them throughout their operations.
The MP, who doubles as the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mining, at the press conference, shared that the team has set its sight on inaugurating the stadium by the end of this November.
“We will be commissioning our stadium also by November ending, and we are using this platform to invite you to Tarkwa,” he emphasized, adding “By the grace of God, we shall play our first match of the group stage in Tarkwa.”
Many believe the above remark by the MP was the reason the mining firm decided to delay the timely completion of the project, apparently to shove off the legislator, who has been one of the strong pillars of the club financially.
According to this paper’s information, the project, which was started in the first quarter of 2020 by Gold Fields, through the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation, is originally expected to be completed by December 2022. However, the pitch can be used for football matches by the first quarter of 2023.
Those familiar with the modus operandi of the South African mining firm alleged that the company has a history of delaying projects they financed.
They cited for example that, prior to the 2008 elections, all projects completed by Goldfields Ghana Limited in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem constituency, which were to be commissioned for the benefit of the people, were all halted and only commissioned after the general elections were over.
This, they claimed, was consciously done with the “intentions of the then government New Patriotic Party (NPP) not to achieve any mileage or leverage from the projects.”
Residents who are saddened by the happenings said they felt disappointed that, after management of Goldfields encouraged the club to do well and it is performing remarkably well, the company now appears to turn their back, instead of rallying behind the team.
“The euphoria and enthusiasm of the good people of Tarkwa-Nsuaem behind Medeama SC is just going to be disappointed? Did Goldfields construct the stadium for themselves or for the use of the community?” One of the residents quizzed.
According to him, “Just as they support Ghana Black Stars’ world cup campaign in 2006, the good people of Tarkwa-Nsuaem are expecting same fulfilment through Medeama’s participation and will not sleep on any sabotage that seeks to undermine the gains by all stakeholders to develop the Municipality through Sports.”
They indicated that, Medeama SC were crowned champions of the 2022/23 Ghana Premier League, simply because of the support the club received from stakeholders, particularly from
committed fans, the MP for Tarkwa-Nsuaem and Goldfields Ghana Limited, among others.