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'Don't focus only on Stars'

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The treasurer of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Ben Nunoo Mensah, is calling for a re-orientation of the sports ministry to give equal support to all sporting disciplines to thrive and desist from reducing the outfit to a football ministry.

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He threw the challenge to the new sports minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, to re-activate the original intent of the ministry of promoting and developing all sporting disciplines and not only football or the Black Stars as has happened in recent times.

Mr Nunoo Mensah who doubles as the Vice president of the Ghana Cricket Association expressed regret that disciplines which have won medals for Ghana at the Olympics and other world competitions have been neglected to the advantage of football.

Much as he reckoned that football still remained the country’s number sport, “not everybody can be a footballer and that is why it is important that every talents in any discipline is encouraged to bring the needed results to Ghana.”

He said there was the need for every association to benefit from the national cake, where appropriate financial support is given to them to participate in competitions.

Mr Nunoo Mensah, urged the new minister if possible to review bonuses given to footballers at competitions which bring nothing in terms of financial rewards apart from national pride.

He cited the reported 37,500 dollars given to each Black Stars player and officials for qualifying to the quarter final at the just-ended AFCON as ‘crazy’.

Indeed, each player and officials would have earned at least 125,000 dollars should the Black Stars have qualified for the final.

Mr Nunoo Mensah said the development was sad more so for a developing country like Ghana where there is a scrabble for the limited national resources by all sectors of the economy.

“Come to think of it, the hockey national team needed just 150,000 dollars some two weeks ago to play in a world competition in South Africa and their request was turned down. The bonuses of just a Black Star player would have solved the problem of an entire contingent,” he lamented.

The cricket vice president said the inequalities in the sporting front were ‘just too much’ and earlier it is addressed the better it would be for Ghana sports.

He expressed the hope that the new sports minister would help sanitize the system and provide appropriate solutions that confronts in particular lesser-known sports ‘and not allow himself to be swallowed by mafias in the system.’

Story by Daniel Kenu