No More Football On Saturdays; Baba Yara Stadium To Host Funerals

The Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi has been exclusively reserved for funerals and other social activities on Saturdays, Director of the National Sports Authority in Ashanti Region, Joshua Mensah, has revealed.

Speaking to journalists in the Ashanti Regional capital, Mensah indicated that, it had become necessary to hire the stadium out for funerals and other social activities to enable them raise funds to maintain the fast-deteriorating facility.

“Let me be honest with you, no football match will be allowed at the Baba Yara stadium henceforth because we don’t make enough money from the matches to maintain the facility and so henceforth the stadium will be given out on Saturdays for only funerals and other social activities,” he said.

Mensah also revealed that, his decision has backing from the Director General of the NSA, Robert Sarfo Mensah.

“Even my National director is happy with the decision I have taken here. If we are not careful, we will one day be met with news of the closure of the Stadium for the lack of proper maintenance”.

In Kumasi and most parts of the Ashanti Region, funerals are given so much prominence, and in some circles, they are even considered a lucrative business.

The Baba Yara Sports Stadium was renovated for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008, which was hosted in Ghana. But years of neglect has now left the facility on the verge of collapse.

When Citi News visited the facility, he reported that sections of the stadium have now turned into a dump site with broken seats and stained bathrooms combining to give the stadium a generally repulsive smell.

It is currently Ghana’s largest stadium with a seating capacity of 40,528. However, its current state is one of a terribly maintained facility that lacks the capacity to be described as a standard sporting facility.

About the stadium

The stadium was originally built by the United African Company (UAC) in 1957, and inaugurated as a designated football pitch in 1959. Its stands were constructed in 1971 before the entire stadium was rebuilt in 1977.

In 2004 under President John Agyekum Kufuor, it was renamed after Kumasi-born footballer, Baba Yara. The last major work on the facility was in 2008 ahead of Ghana’s hosting of the CAN 2008 tournament.

Citi News had early on reported on the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex, a multi-purpose sports facility for the national teams, which is now engulfed in filth, and has become an abode for reptiles including snakes.

Instead of grooming the next generation of sportsmen and women, the facility now has become a condemned piece of architecture good for refuse and reptiles.