Encroachment of lands meant for sports infrastructure has been identified as an affliction towards sports development in the country, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah has said.
“This kind of encroachments does not help sports development which is directly linked to the provision of sports infrastructure across the country,” he stated.
Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the reconstruction of the Nkawkaw Park in the Eastern region last Friday, the Minister said, similar projects had been scheduled for other parts of the country but they faced the challenge of encroachmentwith lands taken for farming and housing purposes.
He advised that lands meant for sports development should be left for such purposes, adding that, ‘this was the only way sports can be developed.’
Government, he said, was committed to developing sports infrastructure across the country, hence the construction of multipurpose sports stadiums across the country and the reconstruction of existing old parks.
“We can only achieve this if we get the support of the people within the communities; especially when the facilities would benefit the them and the country as a whole,” he stated.
He urged chiefs and leaders within communities with parks earmarked for reconstruction to ensure that the lands were not encroached upon by the people.
Some of the communities with old parks that have been listed for reconstruction into an ultra modern stadium complex include, Swedru, Gyandu, Saltpond, Bekwai and Konongo, Mampong, Berekum, Tarkwa, Kpando and Sunyani.
The parks when reconstructed would have a 5000 to 10,000 sitting capacity stand, FIFA standard football pitch, running tracks and gymnasium.
It would also have a restaurant, a multipurpose court for over 20 sporting disciplines and hotel facility which would be available for national teams for camping.
Kwahu Atibiehene and Gyasehene of Kwahu Traditional Area, Barima Kwame Asante Beteani II pledged their commitment to support government’s effort to provide sporting infrastructure for the country.
He said, they would stop anyone who attempts to encroach on the 40-acre land where Nkawkaw Park was situated to ensure a proper reconstruction of the facility.
“This is a project that would be useful not only to the Kwahu area but the country at large and we must do well to protect it,” he stated.
He urged members of the community to desist from such unlawful encroachments and rather support contractors to complete the project on time.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE