Sports enthusiast, George Haldane-Lutterodt, has urged the government to reconsider hosting the African Games amid the dire economic straits in which the country finds itself currently.
He suggested that Ghana should pass the baton to another country now and prepare well for the next edition of the tournament in five years time.
“The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia War have made government’s financial situation worse and unfathomable; it will, therefore, be prudent to set our priorities right,” he told Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview in Accra.
Ambassador Lutterodt, who is a Peace Ambassador and a former chairman of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), cited the nation’s infrastructure deficit, the slow progress of the ongoing construction of facilities for the Games and the lack of timelines for the realisation of projects for the continent’s largest sporting event, as a grave concern that must not be overlooked.
“We have less than 10 months to the competition but we don’t know what is happening with respect to the competition and disciplines,” he noted.
Hosting of next edition
Mr Lutterodt advised the country to hasten slowly and take its time to host a near-perfect competition in five years time.
“We can host it next four years or anytime the country is ready to avert any economic crisis that may befall us when we rush with hosting such a big event,” he stated.
Ghana was awarded the rights to host the Games in 2018 and the Local Organising Committee (LOC), chaired by Dr Kwaku Ofosu-Asare, promised to stage a magnificent showpiece.
However, four years on, the nation is yet to boast one completed facility, with less than 10 months to the start of the Games.
“The biggest mistake the LOC has made is that it has relied on government as the sole source of financing these Games instead of being innovative and making the games a government-private sector partnership that will benefit all,” he stressed.
The Games, dubbed: ‘Accra 2023’, is scheduled for August 4 to 19 next year. Yet the facilties are yet to be completed for inspection and testing.
The African Games is a quadrennial multi-sports competition encompassing all nations on the continent.