‘Noko Fioo’ NSA Shuts Accra Sports Stadium For Xmas Concerts
…Hearts-Kotoko Debut, Dreams FC CAF Clash Affected
The National Sports Authority (NSA) has shut the Accra Sports Stadium to teams that hitherto used the facility as their venue for both local and continental games, at least for the entire month of December.
The development indicates that the managers of the state facility prioritize music jamming and partying at the stadium over sporting activities, an issue that has left many dumbfounded.
The Anchor gathered this action by the authority is a deliberate move to generate funds, instead of leaving the facility solely for footballing activities.
The NSA announced the unavailability of the stadium this December, after informing some four Ghana Premier League clubs it has hired the stadium out to event organizers for the entire December for the Christmas festivities, rather than football.
The clubs, namely Accra Hearts of Oak, Accra Great Olympics, Accra Lions and Dreams FC, are now left without a venue for their home games, as far as playing in the national capital is concerned.
A letter dated November 20, signed by the Director General of the NSA, Prof. Peter Twumasi, copied to the Minister of Youth and Sports and the Ghana Football Association (GFA), implored the clubs to look for alternative venues.
“The National Sports Authority wishes to inform you about the unavailability of the Accra Sports Stadium in December for sporting purposes.
“By this letter, all the clubs who use the Accra Sports Stadium are entreated to use their alternative venues to honour their league matches in December,” the NSA said.
The decision by the NSA has angered many, outside of the clubs, as well as some sports personalities and journalists, making them wonder what went into the decision.
Apparently, the crisis situation is not going to affect only the domestic league, the paper learnt.
Dreams FC’s Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) inter-club competitions, as well as this season’s debut between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, which is usually one of the games fans look out for, are hugely affected.
It is unclear how these clubs are going to manage, as the 14th league week fixture between Hearts and Asante Kotoko, scheduled for December 17, in Accra, and the 15th-week clash between Olympics and Kotoko on Christmas Eve, are threatened.
The Anchor gathered that Hearts, for instance, are considering playing their home match at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, the only internationally approved sporting facility by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which is the same place their arch rival, Asante Kotoko, traditionally use for their home games.
Dreams FC, on the other hand, will be hosting their league matches at the Dawu Park, but their CAF Confederation Cup group stage encounters against Rivers United FC of Nigeria (December 3) and Academica do Lobito of Angola (December 20) at the Accra Stadium are now in limbo.
The likely option for the club is to relocate their continental matches to the same Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, putting more pressure on the facility.
It is unclear which concerts are going to be held in the stadium near the Independence Square at Osu in Accra.
The Anchor is aware of two major events that were slated for the stadium by dancehall artistes Charles Nii Armah Mensah aka Shatta Wale and Livingstone Etse Satekla alias Stonebwoy.
Even that, it emerged, there were issues concerning the booking of the same stadium by the artistes, who accused the authority of bad faith.
Shatta Wale, who has been hosting his Freedom Wave Concert there for some years now, was this year outdone by Stonebwoy, who equally announced a decision to hold his BHIM Concert, which hitherto was held at Ashaiman, a suburb of Accra.
The often-controversial artiste, who was not enthused with this development, took to social media to express his frustrations, calling out some names behind the clash.
He accused the BET award-winner, Stonebwoy, and his team of trying to sabotage his show with colleague Medikal, which has been held at the Accra Sports Stadium for the past two years.
In the end, the dancehall king hitmaker opted out, without announcing a new venue for the event.
Sammy Baah, aka Sammy Flex, the manager of Shatta Wale, confirmed the cancellation of the concert, indicating that “As a result of this brouhaha, Shatta Wale has decided to cancel the Freedom Wave Concert altogether.”
Sammy Flex quickly stated that there are no plans to stage the concert elsewhere for now, stressing “The show has been cancelled until we receive a positive update from the National Sports Authority (NSA).”