Beach Volleyball: Ghana miss World Champs over visa

BY: Kwame Larweh
George Tettey - GVA Vice President
George Tettey - GVA Vice President

The vice-president of the Ghana Volleyball Association (GVA), George Tettey, says the country will be absent from the Beach Volleyball World Championship in Rome following frustrations the contingent encountered in securing visas to travel for the competition.

The GVA was compelled to abandon the trip to the Italian capital altogether for the June 10-19 competition due to what Mr Tetteh described as frustrations by officials at the Italian Embassy in Accra.

He told the Graphic Sports that the association did everything possible for the beach volleyball team to travel to Rome but they were denied visa by the Italian Embassy despite meeting all the requisite demands, including supporting documents from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

"We followed through with every process demanded by the Italian Embassy officials but they still refused to give us the visa," Mr Tetteh told the Graphic Sports in Accra last Friday.

The four-man contingent comprised two players, Paul Akan and Samuel Essilfie, their coach Ben Tettey and Kwadwo Fordwour as leader of delegation. The Ghanaian duo was due to play against Poland in their first match last Friday.

"We are very disappointed with the turn of events, the Minister of Youth and Sports offered a great support for us and gave us tickets to travel, including using the ministry to serve as a guarantor, but still the Italian Embassy would not budge."

Narrating the frustrations encountered in their preparation for the biennial championship, having received an invitation on May 23 from the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), Mr Tetteh said his outfit presented Ghana’s competition to the Italian Embassy following which they requested the team’s flight itinerary which they provided.

He explained that the problem began on June 6 when the embassy asked for an insurance cover for the team which necessitated GVA to contact the FIVB and the Italian Volleyball Federation which made available the requested insurance cover.

"FIVB and the Italian Volleyball Federation reached out to the embassy in Ghana to explain that there was no need for such insurance since they have got it [competition] covered, but they [Italian Embassy] snubbed both bodies," he stated.

According to Mr Tettey, the embassy subsequently demanded a guarantee from the Youth and Sports Ministry, to which the Minister, Mustapha Ussif, readily obliged but all to no avail.

"Despite all these, we still did not get the visas forcing us to change our travel schedule from June 8 to June 10 and that was what cost us out first match," he lamented.