How Heart of Lions are fueling Kpando’s economy

Heart of Lions’ return to the Ghana Premier League has positively impacted the local economyOn that magical May 2, 2023, Kpando came alive with jubilation as Heart of Lions roared back into the spotlight!With a thrilling 4-2 victory over Golden Kicks, they didn’t just conquer Division One League Zone III but they wrote a new chapter in their storied history, reclaiming their place in the Ghana Premier League after an eight-year hiatus.The town erupted in celebration, from the bustling streets of Dzigbe to the tranquil corners of Avetikofe. Everywhere you turned, there was a party and an overwhelming sense of pride.Even in the smallest hamlets like Gbefi and Fesi, the party spirit knew no bounds.It wasn’t just a win, it was a triumph of spirit, a testament to the unwavering dedication of the entire community.”I am happy for the people of Kpando and its environs, especially the Volta Region, that the Premier League is back,” Club President Randy Abbey couldn’t contain his joy in an interview with Original FM after the success.His words echoed the sentiments of an entire region starved of top-flight football since the relegation of West Africa Football Academy (WAFA) in 2022, which subsequently restructured into an academy team.But Heart of Lions’ impact transcended the realm of sports, breathing new life into the local economy.A recent visit by JoySports to the venue for a league fixture against Nsoatreman shed light on the profound impact of the Ghana Premier League footballs return to the community.Despite the team’s precarious position near the bottom of the league table, the quest for three crucial points infused the day with a sense of urgency and determination.Initially, the surroundings seemed subdued, almost as if the community had resigned itself to the teams struggles.Yet, as the day unfolded, a remarkable transformation took place. What began as a quiet scene, with shuttered shops and deserted streets, blossomed into a vibrant tapestry of activity.Fans poured in from all corners, young and old alike, converging on Kpando Park to rally behind their beloved team. It was a testament to the unwavering support and passion that coursed through the veins of this town, turning a seemingly ordinary day into a spectacle of unity and camaraderie.The stadium, with its capacity of over 2,000, packed to the rafters with fervent supporters.Ticket sales soared, with each entry stamp becoming a coveted badge of honour.As the club’s coffers swelled, so did the fortunes of local businesses.Transportation, in particular, experienced a renaissance, with bikes and tricycles transforming into chariots of choice, ferrying fans to what many consider the battleground of dreams.One tricycle owner, beaming with pride, shared his journey with JoySports: “A few months ago, I was jobless, but now I rely on this tricycle. I’ve made a good amount of money and feel much better.”In fact, I earned GHC 10,000 from this business, enough to buy this tricycle. Match days are really good,” he noted.Meanwhile, a local vendor, basking in the glow of success, revealed her matchday earnings: “I have been selling at this venue [Kpando Park] for the past three months and business has been good.”On a good day, I rake in up to GHC 700,” she revealed.The tricycle rider and snack vendor are not the only ones benefiting from the team’s return to the league, but they are among those who would cheer the loudest to see the team avoid relegation.As cheers echoed through the streets and dreams soared higher, one thing became clear: in Kpando, the passion for Heart of Lions transcended mere fandom.With every kick of the ball and every roar of triumph, the heartbeat of the town grew stronger, fueling a legacy that would resonate for generations to come.By Haruna Mubarak || Joy Sports