Asks Michael Okuley
Over the years, Ghana has received international recognition through the efforts of some sporting individuals. Ghana has achieved a lot of laurels at every championship. Being the first African country to win the African Cup of nations for keeps and the recent rise in the FIFA World Cup have forced some sports loving fans to christen the West African country as a ‘football nation’.
These vibes have been drummed into the ears of successive ministers at the Ministry of Youth & Sports (MOYS) thereby over-concentration on football at the detriment of other sports disciplines. The duty of the MOYS is to create avenues, facilities and policies to develop sports; but what do we see in this country?
The above question reminds me of the refreshing statement made by current minister, Hon Isaac Asiamah on numerous platforms especially when he faced the vetting committee of Ghana’s Parliament that he ‘wasn’t going to be a minister of football’ meaning his office will create equal opportunity for all the disciplines to thrive. After six months in office however, the evidence on the pink sheet suggests the Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua Constituency has failed to walk his talk.
When he was able to renegotiate the bonuses of the Black Stars at the 2017 AFCON gave the indication that change has really come not knowing he was going to be another football minister in waiting. All the less funded sports have been told NO MONEY by the MOYS for their annual activities because the annual budget of the ministry is a meager GH¢22million.
Honestly, Hon Isaac Asiamah deserves some plaudits for convincing the Finance Minister to increase the annual budget of the Sports ministry by 100% (GH¢46m) to help cater for all the disciplines. Surprisingly, the story has been the same. What is the essence of the increment when an individual like Charles Osei Asibey had to fund the national Armwrestling team for a just ended international championship in Nigeria where Ghana won 22 medals (10gold, 6 silver & 6 bronze)?
I am not against the efforts to develop football in this country but others must not be sacrificed for football. The national Volleyball team is in Niger for World Cup elimination and the only help the ministry offered, was to pay their participation fee and give them a travelling bus for the journey from Accra to Niger and back. Will the ministry be bold to tell any national football team to travel to even nearby Burkina Faso or Ivory Coast by road? This is the marginalization I am talking about.
Another annoying and unfortunate decision by the MOYS is to send the deputy minister, Hon Enam Hadidze to follow the Black Stars when they recently played in friendly games in USA when the national U19 cricket team needed support for their 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Kenya. Sadly, the team had to borrow $10,000 for their participation, fuel the bus given to them by the National Sports Authority to transport the contingent to the airport before emplaning to Nairobi. Strangely, the federation has to pay the duty driver his allowance. Does this qualify for the ‘minister for all’ assurance we were given before the Vetting Committee, Hon Minister?
This same Hon deputy minister who has been globetrotting on the ticket of the state had the guts to call federation presidents who are doing their work for them by investing to develop the sport galamseyers? Hon Enam Hadidze please spare us these your comments and work to raise enough monies for these federations to develop the sport. Some of your comments are very discouraging. You can’t spank a child and expect him not to cry. What do you think would have happened if those you refer as galamseyers had decided to pull out from supporting these federations in the last 5 years since government has not deemed it fit to financially support them? Do you think there would be a ministry for you to administer?
Before I end my sermon, I will only like to remind the ministry led by Hon Isaac Asiamah and Hon Enam Hadidze the disaster Ghana may face due to their inconsistencies in their decision making. We were told the various stadiums was going to be closed down for renovation in last month (June) only to be told stakeholders have pleaded with the ministry to wait till September for the renovation takes place and the MOYS agreed to this? Jesus Christ!
Accra sports stadium for instance has been dubbed a death trap by all and sundry and instead of the ministry to speed up the renovation exercise to eschew future calamity to save lives, they have risked our lives till September. With this decision, I think the Ministry of Youth & Sports is A Bomb in Waiting to Explode.
Source: Michael Okuley GBC-Accra
Twitter : @MikeOkuley