Sekondi, Sept.15, GNA - Members of the Sekondi Youth Association on Wednesday staged a three-hour peaceful demonstration against the relocation of the proposed stadium to Essipong near Sekondi in the Western Region for hosting of the CAN 2008 matches.
The original plan for construction of the new stadium, which would host some of the football matches during the CAN 2008 competition, was to have taken place at the Sekondi Gyandu Park.
Experts of the project however explained that the change of the site to Essipong, about five kilometres from Gyandu Park was purely due to technical, financial and time constraints.
The demonstrators, wearing red and black attire, sang and danced to brass band music through the principal streets before presenting a petition to Madam Sophia Horner-Sam Deputy Western Regional Minister at her office.
The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Mike Odoom, signed the petition. It said the youth were prepared to take the full blame and responsibility should CAF decide to relocate the new stadium outside the Western Region because of the agitation.
The petition gave the authorities 14 days to review the decision to relocate the stadium to Essipong or the youth would advice themselves. It argued that since socio-economic activities in Sekondi had declined, the new stadium was the only hope to bring back life to the township. In spite of persuasions from some quarters for the youth to abandon their opposition to the decision to relocate the stadium, the youth said they were not convinced by the explanations so far given for the relocation of the stadium.
The petition said "The youth can no longer trust the leaders for what they say; since they claimed rumours of the relocation of the stadium were earlier dispelled, but it was only when we threatened to demonstrate against the decision that the officials confirmed the change".
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister at a press conference on Monday appealed to the youth to take another look at their planned demonstration.
He attributed the decision to relocate the stadium to reports from experts who said the Gyandu Park, the original site for the project was not suitable for the construction of a modern stadium.
Mr. Aidoo said the reports indicated that part of the Gyandu Park was used as a rubbish dump for a long time and as such the area had to be excavated and filled at an estimated cost of about five million dollars. The filled land would also have to wait for more than nine months before construction could begin, he told the press.
The Regional Minister said another proposed site, the Takoradi Polytechnic Park was also found to be waterlogged, hence the decision to construct the new stadium at Essipong.
CAF officials have inspected the site and clearing of the land would commence next week.