Former Vice President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), George Kwasi Afriyie, has called on the Executive Council of the association to reconsider its decision to construct another astro turf at the Ghanaman Centre of Excellence at Prampram, instead of a natural grass pitch.
New Ghana Premier League sponsors betPawa, as part of its deal with the GFA, is constructing a standard FIFA astro turf pitch capable of hosting international matches. The facility would come with a changing room, VIP stand and sitting capacity, among others.
However, according to Mr Afriyie – who made the call during the FA Congress in Prampram last week, constructing an artificial turf now would not be the right investment, especially with most of the competition Ghanaian clubs as well as the national teams participate in, are played on natural grass.
“There are existing astro turfs in Prampram presently. Aside from that, the government is building a number of astro turfs all over the country. I think we should rather take advantage of this betPawa deal to build a first-class natural grass training pitch, instead of the present plan.”
According to him, as an association, often times they resort to the state-owned pitches for training purposes “and all can attest to the somewhat difficulties that come with the move.”
“Presently, and in future, countries are and will be moving away from the use of astro turf. In the Netherlands today, they have banned the use of artificial turfs,” the former FA Veep said.
In his response, GFA President Kurt Edwin Simon Okraku, allayed the fears of Mr Afriyie, noting that the plan is to construct about nine pitches. However, he promised that the mini-stadium would be a natural grass pitch.
Mr Okraku used the opportunity to thank betPawa for the trust and desire to help domestic football grow in Ghana.
He later performed the sod-cutting ceremony together with Oluwatosin Ajibade, shareholder of betPawa, for the project which takes off this month.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY