Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Traditional adowa dance by the Amamereso fie Cultural Group from the Centre for National Culture and “Jama” songs from various football supporters union were some of the side attractions that heralded the official local launch of the Kumasi Venue of CAN 2008 at the Prempeh Assembly Hall yesterday.

It signified the official information for the people of Kumasi and the Ashanti region about the impending CAN 2008 tournament and the benefits of the tournament.

An excited Ashanti Regional Minister, E. A. Owusu Ansah, who lauched the programme said, “from today let us all think, eat, drink and toast CAN 2008, of which the Black Stars of Ghana will be crowned champions for the 5th time”.

The Kumasi local launch of the competition marks a turning point in whipping up public interest in the tournament. This is premised on the fact that the tournament would bring a lot of advantages, such as attracting tourists, fostering business partnerships and friendships as well as good neighbourliness with other nations.

CAN 2008 kicks off on January 20, 2008 with an opening ceremony at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra. Other local venues — Accra, Sekondi and Tamale — are also expected to do their launches in the coming weeks.

The Kumasi official launch was followed by a street float which attracted cheers from members of the public.

Dressed in the Ghana national colours, the various supporters union stormed the Prempeh Assembly Hall amidst the singing of the Ghana Black Star Cheer Song which sent the entire hall into a frenzy.

“I have just been made conscious of the excitement that would go with the hosting of the tournament” was what Miss Eno Akua Brantuo, a patron at the official launch, was overheard saying as the hall went into a frenzy.

The Ashanti Regional Minister called for an unflinching public support and cooperation in the quest to get Kumasi prepared for the tournament.

He explained that Ghana was chosen to host the tournament for a number of reasons, such as previous experiences in hosting it in 1963, 1978 and co-hosting it in 2000 with Nigeria.

“The peaceful political climate, the exploits of the Black Stars in recent international tournaments and the reputable standing of the country among the comity of nations are all significant factors.

“With such an impressive background, it is important that we strive to ensure another successful tournament”, the Minister said.

He maintained that the decongestion exercise currently being embarked upon by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) was laudable and stressed that every nook and cranny of the city needed to be kept clean since visitors would take advantage to tour the city.

He also called for a warm welcome from residents to all visitors to the city during the period of the tournament.

“Kumasi has always been a pacesetter when it comes to participating and organising national events of this sort”, the Minister said.

Professor K. K. Adarkwa, Chairman of the Kumasi Venue Organising Committee (KVOC) said his outfit was doing its best to ensure that all the infrastructure for the tournament - stadia, training pitches and the city hotel project - were completed on schedule for the competition.

The Chief Operating Officer of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mr Rex Danquah, mentioned that a number of activities had been scheduled prior to the competition to help whip up public interest in the competition.

Miss Patricia Appiagyei, KMA Chief Executive mentioned that the KMA would ensure that enough buses were made available to transport supporters to the stadium. She said private vehicles would not be allowed entry into a two-kilometre radius of the stadium to help curtail traffic congestion at the stadium area, Rather, the KMA would provide buses for patrons to park and ride.

One significant hiccup of the official launch which the KVOC may have to rectify in future activities was the usual Ghanaian attitude of lateness to functions.

The official launch programme was advertised to start at 8:30am at 10:00am the organisers were not ready for the start of the programme.

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