Artificial turfs, Ghana Gas’s contribution

Artificial pitches or Astro-turf, as it is affectionately called in Ghana, are popping up everywhere, from schools, play grounds, churches, to professional sports stadiums. From functionality to cost, there’s no shortage of benefits when it comes to artificial turf fields. Many are of the view that Artificial turf is the perfect playing surface for soccer. A country like Ghana doesn’t only use the artificial turf for soccer but also many functional programmes such as marriage ceremonies, funerals, rallies, church service, Muslim prayers, political talks or elections grounds, to mention a few.

Ghana National Gas Company is playing a key role in the provision of artificial turf in Ghana. I stand to be corrected but the Gas company has constructed well over 30 artificial turfs in Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana.

This vision was mooted by the leadership of the Gas company under Dr. Ben K.D. Asante, the board and management of the company.

Astro-turf/artificial turf always provides a consistent surface for footballers and athletes who’re using the field for their activities. A natural grass surface can get a bit rough and uneven, especially after a soccer match. It is nearly impossible to get in consecutive games or practices when there are many holes in the surface caused by cleats and slide tackles.

This isn’t an issue with artificial turf, which is why so many soccer players prefer playing on synthetic grass fields. Artificial turf provides a consistent surface that maintains its playability for many years to come. Soccer players won’t have to worry about any holes and can keep their focus on scoring goals regardless of where a player is standing or located.

One of Ghana’s football legends, Sammy Osei Kuffour, has criticized artificial turf in the country and his criticism comes with the fear that the pitches may not be done with the right material and that it may not last for its usage. My small research done with artificial turf is that it has an incredible durability and no matter what the weather conditions are, an artificial football field is built to last for so many years. Artificial turf can withstand the most extreme weather and still serves as a viable surface for football players.

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The same cannot be said for a natural grass field. When there is inclement weather such as rain, or extreme heat, it can be impossible for soccer matches to take place. Accra Sports Stadium and Kumasi Sports Stadium have halted many Ghana Premier League matches because of wet field.

Ghanaians can testify that with the introduction of artificial pitches in this country, football in the nation has risen and many football fans now watch the game, especially grassroots football. Football fans always watch matches in areas such Adjiringanor, Madina and La town park, now MacDan Astro-turf and can see the beauty of the game due to the fact that the place is now useful with the introduction of artificial surface field.

Artificial turf promotes safety or a safe playing surface that reduces the chances of injury to players. Football players can play as hard as they want without fear of getting hurt. Common hazards that are often found on natural grass, such as wet surfaces, are not a concern with artificial turf.

Thanks to its advanced properties and efficient drainage system, artificial turf doesn’t get slippery, which means that players will be able to keep their footing while playing. Artificial turf also accounts for the physicality of the footballer and the toll that it takes on a player’s body. Its padding and shock absorption lessen the impact that players take on their knees when tumbling to the ground.

In terms of its maintenance, it’s much better. Unlike natural grass, you won’t have to worry too much about maintaining your artificial field. Maintenance tasks that are mandatory for a natural grass field, like regular watering and mowing, are not needed when it comes to artificial turf. Artificial field low-maintenance surface that allows players to primarily focus on getting better at the sport instead of mundane upkeep work is also enhanced.

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Artificial turf owners also pay less than those who own a natural grass surface in the long run because of decreased water usage and fewer maintenance demands. The Gas company is committed in ensuring that Ghana football reaches a certain level that can be compared to the standard we have in the Western world. The Gas company don’t only provide artificial field in Ghana but rather they provide assistants in the areas such education, health, Water and Sanitation to the benefit of all Ghanaians.

Football, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Field Hockey, and many more are some of the sports that can be played on our modern artificial turf surfaces.

With the introduction of a concept from Ghana’s government ‘One Constituency, One Astro-turf’, the country has gone far with many communities benefiting from an artificial turf surfaces. The Gas company sees many talents and focuses on human development. One footballer at a remote community can turn the fortune of many as a bread winner.

All this can happen when there are good artificial turf surfaces in our various communities.

Such is the focus of Ghana Gas under the leadership of Dr. Ben K.D Asante, who sees opportunities in the talent Ghana has. A raw talent cannot become proactive or productive if not developed.

The Gas Company, in 2019-2022, has transformed our football and through the provision of this newly acquired artificial football pitches in the country is developing talents by enhancing their skills and shaping them in their future endeavors.

In Western Region, specifically Sekondi and Ellembelle Ampain, for instance, communities have benefited from artificial football turf from Ghana National Gas Company. Ashanti Region can boast of an artificial football turf in Suame, Asokwa, Bantama, Asante Akyem Agogo, Adukrom, Barekese, Juaso, Asawase, Oforikrom and Fomena. In Central Region, Winneba, Dompim, Assin North, and Komenda have all benefited from Ghana Gas spreading of artificial turf.

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Nsawam, Mpraeso and Juaben South, all in the Eastern Region have not been left out. At New Abirem, Ghana Gas is building talents in that community for mother Ghana with the provision of a new artificial football turf. Construction of Artificial turf in Tema West Constituency, Okai Koi South, Adjiringanor, Ghana Prisons for football development is key and will continue to be spread throughout the nation.

Takoradi has not been left out with the modern artificial turf. Kperiga in the Upper East, Tamale South, Pusiga and Sissala East, have all benefited from that Ghana Gas’s intent of spread of artificial football turf for sports development in the country under Dr. Ben K.D Asante’s administration of the Gas Company.

The Ghana National Gas Company believes that, providing good sports pitches will be able to shape our raw talent that will be unearthed with this provision of artificial football turf. Talents in Ghana ought to be shaped for better use in the future. I have read many articles and have come to believe that, Ghana is blessed with football talents and these talents cannot go far if not properly developed with good pitches.

Ghana cannot play the nicest football if the grassroots is not properly developed with proper pitches. We cannot as a nation boast of a proper national football team, the Black Stars, if the foundation is weak. Dr. Ben Asante’s dream is to see the development of talents in our footballers so our cherished football will continue to develop to make our nation great and strong again.

By Romeo Oduro