6th January 200
Lovers of the game of football in and around
the Garden City of Kumasi will once again have the opportunity to
make a ‘tourist pilgrimage’ to the famous Baba Yara Stadium on
Wednesday to witness yet another football fiesta.
Though they have had the chance to watch three league matches at
the venue as part of the test-use of the facility, tomorrow’s
match, which will be between the league leaders of Ghana and
Burkina Faso, Kumasi Asante Kotoko F/C and Camain Football Club du
Ouagadougou (C.F.O) (2008 African Champions’ league participants),
will not only be a football match, but part of the activities
listed to mark the golden jubilee celebration of the stadium.
Briefing Kotoko Express on the activities of the day, the
Solicitor for the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and onetime
management secretary of Kotoko, Lawyer Anthony Osei-Poku explained
the reason for the selection of the two sides for the occasion.
“The organisers of the match took into consideration the existing
sister-city relation between Kumasi and Ouagadougou, and carefully
chose the clubs involved in tomorrows match. We chose Kotoko
because they have been the consistent users of the stadium since
its construction. Besides, the fact that the two clubs are atop
their respective country leagues makes a match between them an
attraction worth seeing”.
The main menu to be served for the day remains football, but there
shall be other attractions that could be expertly described as
starters for the main match.
“We are getting around the clock with the event organizers to get
former players of football clubs that exist now and those that
have gone into extinction such as Great Ashantis and Cornerstones
to play a curtain raiser to entertain the fans who will troop to
the stadium on Wednesday”.
With emphasis of Kotoko’s consistent use of the stadium a big
determinant of their choice, the new generation of Kotoko
supporters will also have the chance to at least feel some of the
historical epochs of the club, and this is how Lawyer Osei-Poku
says they would be handling that aspect of the day’s programme.
“As part of the programme we shall be assembling surviving members
of 1971 and 1983 African clubs cup winning teams of Kotoko to play
an exhibition match. This I am sure will give an opportunity to
the younger supporters of the club to see the people whose
sacrifices through sweat and toil on the field of play massively
contributed to the success and rich history of the club”.
All the attractions aside, the King of Asanteman, His Majesty
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is billed to be the special guest of
honour will take the ceremonial kick-off with pump and pageantry.
The Baba Yara Stadium (Kumasi Sports Stadium, as it was known
then) was built by the United African Company (U.A.C) as an
independence day present to the people of Ghana.
Since its construction, the edifice has seen two major renovation
works all of which were incidentally to make it fit for the
hosting of African Nations Cup.
The first renovation works was in 1971, whilst the second and more
recent one has just been handed over and is being test-used in
preparation for the 26th MTN African Nations Cup which kicks off
on the 20th of January 2008.