Inadequate Pitches Killing Talents – The Nima Story

A neglected pitch

“It was a difficult game,” Sir Alex Ferguson, a former manager of English Premier League club, Manchester United, noted.

Looking visibly disappointed, he added, “the pitch was poor.” A pantheon, whose nous for this game is only matched by their own intellect, an intellect the football industry will forever adore could not mastermind victories on pitches he deemed “poor”.

Imagine those pitches deemed unplayable and compare that to the Accra or Baba Yara stadia – two facilities considered the best pitches in Ghana in the top-flight. Just imagine that. If these God-forsaken facilities are the ‘quality pitches’ available for professional players, think of the amateur footballer in a community; a community like Nima — It is worse. To be charitable, it is an eyesore. A town with a population of over 600,000 people has just two football pitches – Kanda Cluster of Schools Park and the Kawokudi Park – and both are under massive pressure with a plethora of teams and schools training on it for exercise or competitions despite having talents abound.

The production chain served the country with top players who made their mark in the country, on the continent, and global at large.

Mohammed Ahmed ‘Polo’, described as the player who “held the key to the tightest of defences,” by Nii Odai Laryea in Polo’s book dubbed “The Magnificent,” became the most prominent star this community ever produced. “We had many parks,” Polo says. “We had many parks to the extent every area had a team and we played inter-community matches,” he recalls.

That’s where Polo was discovered, and many others were in line to be mined to continue the trajectory of the Nima story, but there was a challenge. “People were building houses and putting up other structures [in the parks football was played],” the Dribbling Magician recollects. “The moment fields started diminishing,” he says, “interest in football dropped and these young ones who are supposed to have that sort of field to enjoy have no place to go.” “It is very difficult,” Polo said.

A neglected pitch