When I got the information that the National Sports Authority (NSA) paid GH¢ 5,000 as per diem to be shared among the Black Bombers for participating at the Olympics qualifiers, I wondered how much each of the 12 participants would take home.
With 10 athletes and two trainers taking part in the Dakar qualifiers, the highest an amateur fighter could take home was GH¢ 400.
I was really embarrassed to hear that six months after competing for their country they could be treated in such a bizarre manner.
Then came the other part of the story which stated that the GH¢ 5,000 paid by the NSA represents part payment of per diems owed the amateur fighters. That’s fair enough on the part of the NSA to say but what are the timelines for sorting out the rest of the debt?
If it could take six months to pay these athletes who produced two qualified boxers for the upcoming Olympics, then what is the assurance that the part payment would be settled anytime soon.
It’s shocking to note that these boxers don’t even know the amount budgeted for the qualifiers to be able to ascertain how much they are owed by the government.
The last time I spoke to the NSA boss, he made it clear to me that there was no budget for the qualifiers, and that they will definitely sort the team out.
So the question remains which monies to be sorted out. How can u claim to be owing me without me not having a figure in mind?
It’s hard time the NSA and Ministry of Youth and Sports made the budget available for athletes before competitions in order for them to have a fair idea of how much they are getting.
You cannot allow them to solicit for funds for a competition, struggle to qualify for the Olympics before deciding how much to pay them. This is not the right thing to do to any athlete.
I call on the leadership of the NSA to come out and make it public as to what athletes get for competing at international championships.
It will help in informing participants on their entitlements during competitions just as it is done for the national football teams.
As a country, we must not create a situation where certain athletes feel inferior to the other. It can kill their spirits even before going into tournaments to compete.
Already, there is an impression that choosing a particular sporting discipline in Ghana puts you ahead. That notion must be erased in order to avoid killing talents in non-football disciplines.
The continuous neglect of the cry of amateur fighters will keep killing their spirits on the importance of choosing boxing.
This must not be encouraged. I believe upcoming fighters who are yet to make the Black Bombers team could advise themselves and opt out of the sport.
My concern, however, is how the skipper of the Black Bombers, Suleman Tetteh, and Samuel Takyi will concentrate to prepare adequately for the Olympics with all these distractions.
How can the two qualified boxers be thinking about getting their per diems at a time when they should be focused on getting in shape for the International competition.
For a long time, these problems continue to deprive the nation of laurels at international championships but we seem not to be learning from that.
Sometimes, I’m tempted to believe as a country, we only compete at these games as participants and not to win medals.
The fact that we cannot learn from our mistakes and correct them is what baffles me. Until we change our attitude, Team Ghana will always fail to make any significant impact at international competitions.
It is something bothering the progress of Ghana sports and I urge the NSA and the ministry to put an end to it. They can start with the Black Bombers!