THE STATE OF SPORTS IN GHANA; AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO HELP IT SUCCEED!.
Sports can be fun, therapeutic, and profitable, all in one stroke. And with the right attitude and push, the sports industry can be a huge catalyst for national development, as a single event can boost the tourism, transport, and economic sectors for the nation in question.
An aerial shot of the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra, Ghana (image courtesy of prime news Ghana)
Ghana as a nation has been blessed with an abundance of talented individuals in the world of sports. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that while Ghana is loosely defined as a “sporting nation”, this in reality can be broken down as (95% football [soccer, if you must], 3% boxing and all the other sports competing for the meagre 2% that remains. A variety of factors contribute to this, including the marketability of football, and the apparent lack of it for the other disciplines. I however, believe that the other sports could thrive if, and only if, significantly more focus is paid towards providing a sustainable developmental plan for them.
images from the 5th Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) Open Championships held at the Cape Coast Stadium in 2016.
If the right type of financial assistance and investment is given to sports like Basketball, Swimming, Tennis, Rugby and Cycling; to name a few, then given 5-35 years, the nation would definitely be much better off for it. Noteworthy initiatives are already in place for these sports; including, but not limited to the Tour Du Ghana (Cycling), the aforementioned GAA Open Championships and the Accra Milo Marathon (Athletics), The Legon Sharks Swimming invitational (Swimming) and many more: and while these are commendable efforts, a lot more can be done; starting with ensuring that facilities are properly maintained right from day 1. Our attitude towards maintaining public edifices is awful (this cuts across all sectors in the country, truthfully); that of sporting facilities is extremely grim, but don’t take my word for it, visit this link for someone else’s viewpoint. That mindset has been our bane as a country and it needs to be resolved NOW if we are truly serious about developing.
Here are a few recommendations I have for the National Sports Authority (NSA), The Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the various Federations and Associations as well as all other relevant stakeholders in the industry; to not only save, but ensure that the legacy of sports thrives in our beloved country.
- Don’t be afraid to spend money (wisely) to revamp the image of a sport or discipline, and be bold to seek the right type of partnerships with the private sector to ensure transparency and sustainability of the project.
- Outsource/lease projects where necessary to ensure the rehabilitation and maintenance of sporting facilities are done efficiently and routinely to not be a further strain on the taxpayers and government.
- Work together with educational bodies and local assemblies or other relevant institutions to attract the youth from an early age, and if possible provide reasonable incentives to all parties (the school, family and individual) in order to properly motivate and keep the talents focused.
- Reward our sporting heroes and package them to the general public as worthy role-models (celebrities, if you will), as this would not only enhance their brand, but also the image of their discipline.
- Pay more attention to the “lesser-known” sports. Ghana could really succeed in disciplines like Boxing, Cricket, Rugby, Kayaking, Swimming, Hockey and Athletics (just to name a few) with better support and organisation from us.
Based on the content provided, I hope that this article has the desired effect and contributes in no small way to improving the sports industry and make it worth our while as proud citizens of this country. Kindly like and share if you appreciate my contribution, and be sure to leave your thoughts and suggestions as well either as comments or privately if you prefer. Thank you.
BY: JAMES BREW AMISSAH.
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