Why Ghana may not win gold at African Games
Dr Kwaku Ofosu Asare

Why Ghana may not win gold at African Games

THERE are grave concerns looming over Ghana's potential for securing the coveted gold medal at the upcoming African Games. It is being whispered that the root cause of this worrisome situation is poor planning and a lack of preparation.

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Despite the Executive Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Dr Kwaku Ofosu Asare, making lofty promises two years ago, the athletes have yet to be selected or trained for the highly competitive event.

At the time, Dr Ofosu Asare promised the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, that Ghana would place fifth at next year’s games, 10 places better than the fifteenth it placed at the last edition at Rabat in Morocco in 2019.

Adding fuel to the fire, the National Sports Authority (NSA) has not taken any proactive measures towards talent scouting or athlete selection, which falls squarely under its purview.

Poor Planning

Twenty-five disciplines will participate in the 13th edition of the quadrennial games in Ghana which starts on March 8 and climaxes on March 23.

They are athletics, arm wrestling, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, chess, cricket, cycling, fencing, field hockey, football, handball, judo, karate-do and netball.

The rest are rugby, squash, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and teqball.

Aside from football where we have a greater chance of winning gold because of the fact that it is a national pastime, gold might be elusive for the remaining 24.

The result of poor planning before the games and prior to the advent of mooting the idea to host the games.

With just a few months to the competition, Team Ghana has no athletes or participants it can boast of; nor an inclination to start looking for athletes to don the national apparel and compete for the nation.

In March last year, Dr Kwaku Ofosu Asare revealed to the media that a talent hunt and athlete’s selection would start in that month to select national athletes to represent the country in the games.

As I write this piece, the NSA under whose purview this mandate falls is yet to make any move towards such an initiative promised by the Executive Chairman of the LOC.

Bottom Line

Hosting the games will be a major achievement for the country. But not winning gold or enough gold medals may overshadow the nation’s interest in sport; as an important tool for national development or as an avenue where a great business venture could be derived from.

The business of sports is earning Kenyans and South Africans millions of dollars and Ghana can earn the same.

It is not too late, duty bearers (National Sports Authority and Youth and Sports Ministry) must fast-track the selection of athletes for this grandiose competition. It must start now.

We must begin to invest our time, money and other resources into sports to earn the necessary financial benefits that come with it. Not by paying lip service.

But by proffering and activating concrete measures to tackle the challenges that are bedevilling the industry.

A great African Games will be a great pride for all of us.

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