Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.


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.