Ghana backtracks on plan for 50,000-seat Olympic Stadium

The Government of Ghana has ended plans to develop a 50,000-capacity stadium to serve as the centrepiece of the country’s staging of the 2023 African Games in favour of completing an existing facility.

As the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the multi-sport event was formed in October, President Akufo Addo announced that land had been secured to develop an Olympic Stadium at Borteyman in the Greater Accra Region.

At the time it was suggested that the new stadium would cost in the region of $200m (£145.2m/€168.9m) to build, and Youth and Sports Minister, Mustapha Ussif, has said it has been decided to suspend the project due to issues relating to COVID-19.

“The plan adopted was to construct an Olympic Stadium complex at Borteyman, unfortunately, this plan could not materialise due to the onset of COVID-19,” Ussif (pictured) said, according to the Modern Ghana website.

“The pandemic delayed the start of the procurement process for the construction of this required facility for the Games.”

Instead, Ussif said the Government is now focusing on completing the University of Ghana’s Legon Sports Stadium, and having that serve as the main venue for the Games. He continued: “Due to time constraints, various options were reviewed. Some of the facilities for the refurbishment reviewed include the Accra Sports Stadium, the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Cape Coast Stadium, the Winneba College and the Legon Stadium.

“After careful study of the timelines the Ministry, in consultation with the LOC, has adopted a hybrid approach to construct the project in phases, by leveraging on existing facilities at the University of Ghana and building other facilities that are not available but are requirements for the hosting of the Games.”

The GhanaWeb website added that work at Legon Stadium will include replacing the existing athletics track, and constructing new warm-up running tracks. Borteyman is still being earmarked as the venue for a number of other facilities for the Games.

These include a 1,000-seat aquatics centre, two 1,000-seat multi-purpose arenas and a 500-seat temporary arena, plus a tennis complex including a 1,000-seat centre court.

Image: Yagaba-Kubori