By: Davis Nii Attuquaye Clottey | Voltaonlinegh.com |
Have you wondered why every baby in Ghana who begins to walk starts shouting goal, whenever they see a ball or any round-like object?
It is strange how even parents buy miniature footballs for their kids, be it male or female. It takes the child several years to try out any new sport, which mostly ends along the line, because there is no clear support in the area or career path for one to pursue.
This shows one thing, that Football otherwise known as Soccer dominates the myriad of sporting disciplines in Ghana. This dominance is seen in the level of funding in the area as against the abandoning of other sports by government and other funding partners.
The situation is so bad that apart from government financing the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) at Olympic Games, other sports get woefully inadequate or no support at all in their international assignments.
Even in the case of Olympic Games, apart from Football, only a handful of them are supported with the usual excuse of “No money”.
The excuse of funding over the years has stagnated if not retrogressed the development of the other sport disciplines in favour of Football although it has by far not distinguished itself as the best of the other Sports.
On several occasions, Football has been funded to reach international competitions with hefty bonuses and allowances, yet other sports that qualify for international features do not get funding, hence not able to contest.
Overtime, most of these sports became known as ‘Lesser known Sports’, a name which has changed to ‘Least financed Sports.’
We all know that sports, (least financed ones inclusive), help improve health, improve mental stability, kills depression and stress, socialises people and facilitates economic development through job creation, foreign investment and tourism.
It is also interesting to note that just as some may be talented and interested in Football, a large number of Ghanaians may be talented and interested in other sports like Cricket, Handball, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Boxing, Basketball, and Tennis, just to mention a few.
It is therefore only prudent to spread the funding to cover a lot more disciplines as any disaster in the Football discipline might kill all forms of sports in the country.
A good example is the situation in the country after investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas dubbed Number 12; When Greed and Corruption become the norm.
Local Football competitions have come to a halt except for international tournaments, with the Black Queens hosting Africa this month, November 2018.
One may think, now that there is some halt on Football, government and all stakeholders will turn their focus on other sports, yet that is not happening.
The other sports are so under-resourced that they still cannot pick themselves up, beyond their usual routines even after the Anas’ exposé.
The situation is the same all over the country, including the Volta Region.
The situation of the other known sports is not as encouraging as should be. That notwithstanding, the least financed sports in the Volta Region keep doing their bit.
Despite being one of the most active sports many years ago, not much has been seen from them since June in the community level. Notwithstanding, they have nurtured and groomed talents at the basic, second cycle and tertiary levels to win laurels at their various sector competitions. It is however sad to note that, most of the brilliant athletes leave the region on the back of scholarships from other regions, especially Ashanti.
This discipline is struggling to have a recognised Association due to the fear of financial obligation and other resource challenges. Even with that fear, their Regional Coach, Charles Gomadonku and his assistants have led contingents to participate in tournaments, such as the Cape Coast Afahye Basketball Competition in August and September this year. They achieved a quarter final berth after beating Kumasi and losing to Accra. They had hosted about seven Basketball Clubs at the Ho Sports Stadium earlier and they only keep training, to keep themselves in shape.
Ghana Beach Soccer giants, Keta Sunset Sports in June participated in a Championship in Nigeria and came out as runners up. This feat was achieved few days after Team Volta had clinched the second edition of the Unity Cup (to mark AU Day), as they defeated defending champions Greater Accra, 4-3 on penalties.
Meanwhile, three time Champions of the Beach Soccer League, Sunset Sports Keta, and Avedzi Mighty Warriors failed to reach the finals of the just ended CAL Bank Super Cup after losing to eventual winners, Sea Lions and Nungua Club respectively at the Laboma Beach in Accra on Sunday, November 11.
The Boxing Federation, since their inauguration in 2015 has tried to lift the sport in the region. After June 2018, they pushed for the acquisition of a boxing ring and equipment from the national body and successfully launched the ring with a Ghana versus Nigeria bout at Ziope on 1st September. A week later, they collaborated with Aborigines Promotions to stage a Title bout for Joseph King Kong Agbeko and Homecoming for Anama Dotse ‘Polopala’, with few Volta boxers apart from Agbeko winning their fights. The future for Boxing in the region looks promising.
Introduced in the region in 2015, the Association’s commitment capacity building and development has trained about 400 pupils from various schools. They have achieved introducing hard ball to their over enterprising U-15 squad. There is a planned League expected to start on November 24 at the Ho Sports Stadium. The regional body despite the challenges has made these strides due to sponsorship from the Ghana Cricket Association.
They have also worked hard on few individual Championships, with some of their finest cyclists finishing well. In August, 6 Cyclists participated in the Ga-Homowo Cycling Race and were among first 25 out of a total of 62 cyclists. One cyclist finished 14th out of 52 cyclists at the Kwahu Mountain International Biking, in September, with participants from Togo, Benin, Burkina-Faso, and Nigeria.
The Handball Association begun a league last year and have had series of meetings before beginning this year’s league in November. The success story of the initiative is still being written as many players keep excelling and improving, due to the active nature of the league. Mawuko and Mawuli were crowned champions in the Handball game of the Central Zone Sports Festival after effectively participating in the league last season. TERESCO and EPUC all saw successes in their respective National Games. The league which begun in November 10 with increased number of participating Clubs is also yet to realise a sponsor. This league will continue to project the players as it is keeping them active.
The Volta Hockey Club which has players from Ho and Kpetoe has produced players who now play in Accra. They hosted Citizens International Hockey Club from Accra and Koforidua Hockey Club at the Ho Sports Stadium in May. After receiving equipment from Citizens, they donated some to the Agotime Kpetoe Senior High School, who prepared for the Citizens International Invitational Championship in Accra and won the Fair Play accolade but couldn’t get to the finals in June.
At the National Basic Games in August, Volta won Silver in the boys division and had John Ahiatrogah (CEPS JHS) adjudged the Best Player. In August and October, they held a Hockey Clinic in Kpetoe and at Mawuli School but lacked support to acquire equipment and a standard playing field. Brothers, Damalie Luke and Damalie Mathew are national team players who once played for the Volta Hockey Club. Current U-17 Hockey captain, Esther Nuatro who was recently adjudged the best goal keeper at the Inter Regional School Sports Festival in Cape Coast was also a product of the Volta Hockey Club.
Having got an Interim Executives Inauguration in May this year, the Netball Association has been able organize an Umpiring course for a start, which is one step in the organization of a league. Although many did not participate in the course held at Adidome in October due to financial constraints, the Association believes, it will gradually achieve their target, with or without the numbers.
After a consistent 5-month training programme, they achieved a 4th and 11th spot at the just ended Stanbic Bank National Table Tennis League this month in the female and male categories respectively.
They also finished in the quarter finals for both categories in the Knockout competition which preceded the League play at the Accra Sports Stadium. Vilcabamba Table Tennis Club, based in Denu will wrap up their year with the Annual Championship in December. They have achieved this without any major sponsorship.
The Association which had their new executives elected into office last year has successfully formed clubs in the region.
Their consistency over the years and immense contribution towards Taekwondo promotion in Ghana, led them to being among the three selected regional Associations visited by a team of four from the World Taekwondo Peace Corps Headquarters, Republic of Korea in August.
The team taught Taekwondo practitioners in the regions, new skills and practiced old skills for 10 days. Taekwondo is a dynamic combat sports hence the need for practitioners to update themselves.
The Tennis fraternity which is based in Ho elected new executives in September. They have been consistent over the years in producing some of the good players in the country. A Clinic at Akosombo and other places proved how effective they are. After hosting 5 clubs for this year’s Asogli Te Za Tennis championship, 2 of their players finished as semifinalists in the Babolat Doubles Tennis Open tournament later in September in Tema. The team gets some support from Stanbic Bank.
This Association was to host the Southern Sector Volleyball Championship in Ho in July but lack of sponsorship coupled with other logistical challenges hindered the Championship. To this end, they might not be able to go for the 4th National Volleyball Club Championship in Brong Ahafo, slated for 28th and 29th November due to similar challenges. Meanwhile, gala and friendly matches had been held in Aflao from July to September with new players scouted.
The Regional body was inaugurated in February this year and is currently working on getting more players from Sogakope and Adidome. Their captain, Hickson Pius Godslove once participated in Athletics (Javelin) at the Maputo All African Games. They are also struggling to acquire a special wheelchair for playing Basketball after they were provided with some during the 1st Ghana National Wheelchair Basketball Republic Day Championship held in Ho in July which saw Brong Ahafo becoming Champions.
It is clear that but for lack of sponsorship, the other sports in the region will have done greater than their modest strides. It is only strange that despite the consistency and hard work of the other sports they still do not get the necessary support from government, corporate bodies and other stakeholders.
The various municipal and district assemblies (MDA) and the members of parliament (MPs) should take keen interest in promoting these sports in the region and find ways of monetising them. It will help create jobs, reduce social vices and generate some form of revenue for the MDAs. It will also become more attractive and attract external sponsorship and investments.
The Director of Sports at the National Sports Authority-Volta, Mr Kwame Amponfi Jnr has brought some vibrancy to the sporting federations in the region which must be commended. It is hoped that this will continue to identify talents, increase training and facilitate promotion and development of the various disciplines.
The media should give the least financed sports enough space as they give to football to create the needed interest and awareness and attract support from all and sundry.
One man that needs commendation is Fo Joe Ayivor, also known as ‘Afe Lotto’ (From Home Lucky Raffle) who has been instrumental in supporting and promoting other disciplines apart from football. His gesture is worth emulating.
It would have been great to see the other sports on top, yet in the absence of Football for the past 5 months, not much have happened for them due to lack of funding.
The disciplines looked at are not exhaustive as not all of them are active in the Volta region.