The Cruyff Foundation, in collaboration with Cargill Ghana Limited and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), has cut the sod for the construction of Cruyff Court Tema Meridian, the first in sub-saharan Africa.
The facility, which is being funded by Cargill, would have artificial grass, changing rooms, floodlights, fencing, and wheelchair access for easy mobility for persons with disabilities.
The Cruyff Courts are aimed at keeping children active and improving their physical and mental health to honour legendary Dutch footballer and manager, Johan Cruyff.
In his address at the sod-cutting ceremony last Friday, Mr Evans Bobie Opoku, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, commended the Cruyff Foundation for considering Ghana to benefit from its courts, adding that it would help the Tema Metropolis to unearth talents.
Mr Opoku said such requisite facilities were important for the country to unearth talents, adding that with the provision of artificial turfs, the kids could train on good pitches early and master their skills.
He said that was in line with the concept of Confederation of African Football (CAF) to catch children young in football due to its importance in uplifting the game in Africa.
“We are looking at unearthing their talents through sports and infrastructure which remain the most important things to help nurture and develop these talents.
“I am very happy that the Cruyff Foundation thought it wise to come to the aid of Tema and I believe it would go a long way to help the youth,” said the Deputy Minister.
Mr Yohane Amarh Ashitey, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, said the turf, when completed, would end the current trend of children spending more time on the screen rather than engaging in outdoor games and sports such as playing football.
He noted that having the facility at the Mante Din School in Tema would help the children of the school and the community to produce more football talents.
For his part, Mr Eddie Dankwa, Chief Operating Officer of BLAG Ghana, contractors of the facility, said his outfit was working tirelessly to finish and hand over the facility to the community by January and, therefore, called on the inhabitants to support the initiative.
Mr Dankwa added that they were ready to train the students and community in how to effectively use the facility after handing it over.
“It is an honour to be given the privilege to build such a facility and we are going to work tirelessly to finish on time and hand it over to the community by January,” he said.
Mr Aedo van der Weij, Managing Director of Cargill Ghana Limited, said his outfit had been active in the communities they work in and invested in many projects, including the educational sector.
He said the company's values for positive change resonated with the Cruyff Foundation, which sees sports with a purpose, adding that regardless of people's background, be it culture, politics, and religion, there was a need to work together through sports.