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John Mahama: Sports Infrastructure key to Ghana’s 24-Hour economy

Ex-Ghanaian President John Mahama, now the Presidential Candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), addressed the media yesterday on the theme “Building The Ghana We Want Together,” focusing on sports infrastructure and its role in the nation’s development.

Mahama highlighted his vision for the future of sports in Ghana, promising significant improvements if elected in the 2024 elections.

“We shall develop our stadia for track and field, and fix deteriorating football pitches. Lesser-known sports will receive equitable attention,” he said.

Mahama also spoke about his 24-hour economy agenda, expressing optimism that sports could create more jobs for Ghanaians.

“If you go to many countries, sports plays a very good part in the 24-hour economy. So you find games being played at night under floodlight, but unfortunately, here in many places, you have to close the match before the sun goes down,” he noted.

“I do think sports can play a very good part, and we will invest in sports facilities. During the working day people go to work and in the evening they would want to go witness a football match or athletics meet and we don’t have exactly the facilities to sustain that.”

Ghana has faced challenges maintaining its major stadiums since hosting the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.

Recently, Thomas Partey, deputy captain of the Black Stars, urged Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to focus on developing world-class stadiums.

Mahama acknowledged this need but argued that bidding for major competitions is often the catalyst for such developments.

“I have been to Wembley, and it’s a stadium of a different class from what we have here. Often, countries are energized to build these stadia if you bid to host something.

It creates opportunities because you know you will get returns on the investment when the tournament comes to your country.”

Reflecting on Ghana’s past efforts, he said, “I remember when we bid for the African Cup of Nations, some rehabilitation took place, but we didn’t see any new world-class stadium built. But in the current crisis we find ourselves in, I will not stand here and say we will build a new stadium.”

However, Mahama assured that under his “Big Push” initiative, there would be a substantial investment in infrastructure over five years, including sports facilities.

“We intend to spend a certain amount of money over five years on providing good infrastructure which will include roads, bridges, agro-industrial parks, and that could include sports facilities.

“If we make applications, then we can consider providing such stadiums,” he concluded.

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