The need to promote and maintain our sports, especially football, cannot be overemphasised. Sports promote good health, occupies our youth and generates jobs and good business, apart from serving as a constant source of entertainment.
Although it has taken many years of deliberation and effort, we have succeeded in crafting a Sports Law with the provision of a Sports Fund. The fund is intended to engineer financial ways and means of growing our sports. What is hanging is how to acquire the funds which should sustain the various components of our sports on a permanent basis.
If we are determined as a nation, this should not be too difficult for us to do. Through the establishment of the Ghana Educational Trust (GETFUND), we have been able to see to the provision of the huge infrastructure of classrooms and dormitories for our schools. Also, funds have been made readily available for scholarships from which already well-educated nationals get sponsorship to increase and improve their knowledge and usefulness. We have done the same for some of our health needs. Therefore, we do not have to go too far to do same if we are really concerned about lifting our sports to the heights that it deserves.
For almost three years now, we have never started and concluded any football season. The never-ending coronavirus is becoming permanent and it is at the same time worldwide. It has no respect for the rich or the poor. But when it comes to football, the rich and developed nations are finding the way to get their football going. Initially, we were all forced to put an end to our various leagues and rendered our players, referees and spectators redundant. But now, they are able to resume their games without spectators. Indeed, they have all finished their leagues.
How are they able to achieve this? Perhaps, they are rich and more resourceful. They have got accumulated funds. Above all, it is through a better management of their leagues.
It is true that football started from them and we copied it from them. But it appears the only aspect we copied from the so-called “white man” is how to get a rectangular space, one or two footballs and some young players, some referees with some idle people following as fans et cetera. No proper management. No proper sponsorship mingled with corruption and selfishness. Meanwhile, our governments are forced to be aloof and wait till things start getting out of hand.
Perhaps, we have to go back into our history and learn useful lessons. Lessons such as why our governments and public service have stopped giving employment to our footballers just because they are footballers.
If we are to lift ourselves from the doldrums and improve upon our football, we should do some serious rethinking. And rethinking is not coining slogans. We must learn to involve tried and tested people and not throw them away in the name of change.
Professor Alabi, formerly of the University of Professional Studies gave us just a bit of his philosophy of handling football in a proposal he presented as his Sports Manifesto when he was campaigning for the flag bearer position of a political party very recently. Have we read it? Anyway, he is still alive and kicking. Unless we desist from our bad old ways, we shall continue to stagnate and also continue to count the number of years we have been without a football trophy.
It is easy to get CAF and FIFA positions because we are part and parcel of them and they give us our quota. But it is not easy to show good results at home.