Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CAN 2008 game villages at cultural centre and KNUST

The Centre for National Culture (CNC) in Kumasi and the campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have been marked down as games villages for the Kumasi Venue of CAN 2008.

The villages are to serve as entertainment grounds for football fans and tourists during the tournament.

Well packaged variety entertainment programmes have been lined up for football fans before and after the matches.

An exhibition to showcase the arts and cultural heritage of each of the four nations (Zambia, Sudan, Egypt and Cameroon) based in Kumasi is to be mounted at the games villages along side that of Ghana.

There are also plans to have national days for each of the four countries to enable them celebrate and demonstrate their cultural practices in their respective countries.

The activities at the cultural centre for instance are expected to begin Thursday January 17 and end on February 17, 2008. It would be characterised with live band music shows featuring some of the best local artistes in Kumasi.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) is to mount giant television screens at the Dwabirem in the games village to telecast live the matches from the other venues.

Beginning January 17, the centre is expected to be a venue of activities where both Ghanaians and foreigners would enjoy some of the rich cultural activities including exhibition of arts and culture.

The activities are expected to be extended for those who would stay after the tournament.

Kumasi hotels ready for CAN 2008

Hotels earmarked for the Kumasi Venue of the African Cup of Nations is adequately prepared to receive the participating teams, international visitors and tourists.

All the hotels have upgraded their facilities to meet international standards and also amaze the foreigners who would patronise their services.

The four teams to be based in Kumasi are Zambia, Sudan, Egypt and Cameroun. Zambia and Sudan are been hosted at the Golden Tulip Kumasi City while Egypt and Cameroun are been hosted at the Miklin and Georgia hotels respectively.

The Crystal Rose Hotel, Royal Basin and Flossid are hosting CAF officials, journalists and supporters.

The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) has already organised series of training programmes for the hotels to enable them improve upon their services. The GTB was also offering technical assistance to the hotels so as to help make it possible for them to accommodate visitors during the tournament.
All hotel managers and frontline staff have been trained to enable them improve upon their service delivery.

There are 160 rooms available at the Golden Tulip Kumasi City, which was commissioned just last Saturday by President J. A. Kufuor. Other facilities at the hotel are an a la carte restaurant, lobby bar, pool side bar, health club facilities, a swimming pool, conference and meeting rooms among others.

The Hotel Georgia has 56 rooms. The hotel has seen major renovation works where everything in the hotel from A-Z has been changed in preparation for the tournament. Floor tiles and bathroom accessories have all be been changed.

New equipment including CCTV cameras for security has been installed at the hotel premises to ensure security for guests.

Miklin Hotel on its part has also improved upon its facilities and provided CCTV cameras as well as train staff to enable them handle guests in the Ghanaian hospitality manner.

There are 59 rooms available at the hotel which have security coded safes where guests could keep their valuables.

The Operations Manager, Mrs Bernice Ofei said the staffs were upbeat to offer guests the best of services during the period of the tournament to make them feel comfortable.

The Kumasi Venue Organising Committee (KVOC) has made arrangements for supporters who are unable to find hotel accommodation in the metropolis during the period of the tournament to be accommodated at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in student accommodation facilities.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CAN 2008 fever grips Kumasi

CAN 2008 fever grips Kumasi with traders cashing in on the sale of paraphernalia

Baba Yara stadium 50th anniversary

This was during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Baba Yara stadium. The stadium was built 50 years ago. Picture shows the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II performing the ceremonial kick off.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

City Hotel inaugurated

PRESIDENT John Agyekum Kufuor at the weekend inaugurated the refurbished City Hotel now christened Golden Tulip Kumasi City with the firm assurance that the government was determined to restore life to state hotels that had been left to go waste over a long period of time.

He stated that some of the hotels were sold “under questionable conditions and sale terms”, and said government was looking for funds to buy them back to pave the way for their restoration.

President Kufuor said the former City Hotel constituted one of the important national hotels rated in the same class as the Ambassador Hotel in Accra, Atlantic Hotel in Takoradi and the Meridian Hotel in Tema, but mismanagement plunged them into ruins.

The $21.2 million four-star Golden Tulip Kumasi City, constructed by the China State Hualong Construction Ghana Limited, is owned by the Ghana Libyan-Arab Holding Company (GLAHCO), a joint investment venture between the Ghana Government (40 percent) and the Libyan Government (60 percent).

It was financed by the Libyan Arab African Investment Company ($4.5 million), the Government of Ghana ($3.7 million) and the Ghana Commercial Bank, which granted a loan of $13 million.

The 160-room hotel had other facilities including an a la carte restaurant, lobby bar, pool side bar, health club facilities, a swimming pool, conference and meeting rooms among others.

GLAHCO had entered into an agreement with Golden Tulip Hospitality Group of the Netherlands to manage the hotel, which was expected to offer employment to about 140 people at full capacity.

President Kufuor said the rebirth of the hotel was very timely, coming at a time Kumasi was hard-pressed for hotel facilities to accommodate the four nations and thousands of officials and fans for the 26th African Cup of Nations. “With this hotel and other amenities, Kumasi is ready to co-host the event’, the President said.

Emphasizing the tourism potentials of Kumasi in particular and the Ashanti Region in general, Mr Kufuor said, “often visitors to Ghana want to experience the indegenous culture, so they will continue to travel up country, that is why facilities must be available to house them when they come”,

He noted the infrastructure government continued to put in place to open up the country and said, this was a clear testimony of the government’s resolve to change the development face of the country for the better.

He commended the private and public sectors of the economy for playing laudable roles in refursbishing existing hotels and constructing new ones to host guests for the African Cup of Nations.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, traced the history of the divesture of the former City Hotel, which dated back to August 1996 when a company by name Ace Hotels and Resorts Limited acquired the hotel but problems arose in the implementation stage leading to a legal dispute between Ace Hotels and GLAHCO, which delayed the rehabilitation for a long period but added that, at the instance of the Government of Ghana, the legal battle was settled out of court in 2004.

Mr Baah-Wiredu praised President Kufuor for the massive support he gave in having the dispute settled out of court.

He disclosed plans by GLAHCO to undertake various projects including the rehabilitation of Golden Tulip Accra to bring it to modern standards, and said the rehabilitation, which starts in May, this year, would take six months to complete and would be undertaken in a way that would keep the hotel in operation while work were ongoing.

Other projects GLAHCO would undertake were the development of the company’s parcel of land at Tema to provide warehousing facilities, the development of the company’s land at Osu currently occupied by MTN to an office complex and internationally-rated two star hotel, and the development of their land near Sogakope to grow vegetables in commercial quantities for export to Europe.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr E.A. Owusu-Ansah, expressed the hope that the completion of the project would mark the beginning of more projects from Libya to the region.

He called on the management of the hotel to create avenues for the promotion of domestic tourism, conference tourism and also project the rich Ashanti culture.

The Managing Director of GLAHCO, Mr Abdul amid Karmus, was confident that the hotel would be successful, taking into consideration the political, economic and social importance of the city of Kumasi.

Mr Stephen Asamoa-Boateng, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, said weighed against the upcoming African Cup of Nations; the rebirth of the hotel was an exciting moment for the ministry.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

The Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi is now set to host CAN 2008.

I have not had the opportunity to visit the stadium ever since President J. A. Kufuor officially commissioned it a few weeks ago. But fortunately for me, I visited there on Friday afternoon and decided to open my lens wide to bring to you the new looks of the stadium.

I can now vouch that facilities at the stadium is up to the task of hosting CAN 2008.

BRIEF

The refurbished stadium has seen all standards raised to that of new FIFA regulations which the old stadium lacked. Seating capacity of the VVIP, VIP and the whole stadium have increased – 40,500.

The running tracks have been built to Olympic standards, playing field have been constructed in such a manner that it could be well drained and properly irrigated. The lighting is of high standard to allow for live media coverage in the evenings.

New technical installations including public address system, video score board, communication system and general lighting have been provided.

New shops have been constructed to a higher standard and the exit gates have been widened as well as the number increased.

The fa├žade of the stadium have received an aluminum cladding (gold in colour) giving it an outstanding look.

Indeed the stadium has been raised to a state of the art stadium, where all standards are according to FIFA regulations

OLD STADIUM

The Baba Yara Sports Stadium, formerly Kumasi Sports Stadium was built in 1956 and opened in 1959. The stadium saw major rehabilitation works in 1977 and a facelift in 1999 – where Ghana co-hosted CAN 2000 with Nigeria.

The old stadium had facilities which included the VIP stand, administrative offices, presidential suite, VIP lounge and other facilities to make it usable.

Few chairs were fixed for sitting, forcing majority of the spectators to stand or sit on the hard concrete surfaces.

The technical installations at the stadium including the flood lights, score board, public address system, lighting and the playing field in general were in a very deplorable state which did not allow for events to take place during the night as regularly as would have been desired.

The external portion of the stadium was made up of shops of all kinds including: electrical and shoe repair shops, drinking spots, chop bars among others. This gave the occupants the chance to construct the shops as they deemed fit, which was aesthetically unsightly. The exit gates were so small that in case of an evacuation, there could have been a stampede, which would have cost lives and property.

The stadium and its facilities gradually fell below the required FIFA standards and the need to upgrade it was inevitable for the country to host the CAN 2008 games.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Moves to ensure food safety during CAN 2008

With CAN 2008 fever about to grip the nation, food joints and restaurants around the country look set for an outing and with football fans and tourists hanging away from home on unfamiliar ground, the chances for food poisoning could occur.

The general trend is that it is easy for cookers to forget about good food hygiene practices when cooking for large numbers of people.

As a result the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) has rolled out a programme to ensure food safety during CAN 2008 in a bid to back a campaign to help reduce food poisoning.

It has accordingly tasked the FDB in collaboration with the Ghana Tourist Board to organise series of training programmes for those in the hospitality industry to help raise and maintain hygienic and clean environment.

At one of such training programmes in Kumasi Mr Joseph Bennie, Zonal Officer of the FDB in charge of Ashanti and Brong Ahafo noted that food poisoning was one goal no one would want to score against their friends and family.

“If food is not stored, prepared or cooked properly then food bugs like cockroaches can cause severe illness. But it can be easily avoided if you follow basic food hygiene standards”.

He emphasised that some simple hygiene measures will go a long way towards cutting the risks and putting on a successful, tasty and incident free food during the period of the tournament.

The FDB is currently meeting and auditing facilities at various hospitality industries aimed at ensuring that people in the hospitality industry meet the standard of the visitors and supporters who would be hosted during the tournament.

It is also organising custom design training for each facility based on observations made at each hospitality outfit.

In Kumasi for instance, six hotels Golden Tulip (former City Hotel), Royal Basin, Crystal Rose, Georgia Hotel, Flossid Hotel and Miklin Hotel have been selected by the Kumasi Venue Organising Committee (KVOC) as outfits that would host footballers, officials and journalists.

Aside the six selected facilities the FDB is to extend the programme to other hotels and managers of restaurants, drinking and chop bar operators, water sachet and drink producers, food vendors as well as bar attendants and bakers in areas around the stadium, at Asafo, Asokwa and Amakom.

They are to be taken through topics such as personal hygiene, food safety, housekeeping, food handling procedures, food care, and maintenance and cleaning, kitchen, and lavatories among others giving various advices on good food hygiene and reducing the risks of food poisoning.

Over the CAN 2008 period the FDB would also be organising random inspection of various hospitality industries.

Mr Bennie noted that some people who sold food to the consuming public did not care about the environment in which the food was prepared.yap

He therefore called on all to ensure that the right thing was done and also called for management commitment to ensure that the right thing was done in the kitchens of the hospitality industry noting that on various inspection tour by the FDB it was realised that there was no management commitment in some kitchens.

He said the international media was likely to blow out of proportion the slightest incident of food poisoning in any outfit hence there was the need to ensure that nothing of that sort occurred.

Mr Ben Anane Nsiah, Regional Director of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) said when it come to facilities at the stadium, he could be sure of that but he cannot vouch for the hospitality industry.

“For us, it is time to let the world know that we are ready. It is an opportunity to showcase Ghana”.