Afful wins SWAG best footballer award

 Joe Addo ( third-left) receiving the award on behalf of Harrison Afful from the Sports Minister. Looking on are Nana Nketia (in cloth) and the SWAG president (far right).

Joe Addo ( third-left) receiving the award on behalf of Harrison Afful from the Sports Minister. Looking on are Nana Nketia (in cloth) and the SWAG president (far right).

HARRISON Afful has been adjudged the best footballer of the year in Ghana at the 40TH MTN Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) awards night at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra last Saturday night.

The former Kumasi Asante Kotoko player who currently plays for Columbus Crew SC in the Major League Soccer in the Eastern Conference of the league in the United Stats of America was competing with current Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan and Andre Dede Ayew to win the footballer of the year award for 2014.

Harrison was however adjudged the Most Valuable Player in Ghana’s second group game against Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil which was widely regarded as one of the best games of the tournament. The 29-year-old also won the Tunisian league with Esperance in the year under review.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, President of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), Kwabena Yeboah asked stakeholders in sports not to throw the Justice Dzamefe Commission of Inquiry’s into the dustbin as was done to other reports of Commissions in the past.

Speaking at this year’s SWAG Awards Night on Saturday, he said it would be unfair to the Commission and the nation as a whole if the report is neglected.

“We must ensure that the recommendations of the Justice Dzamefe commission are implemented to serve Ghana Sports and develop football to greater heights,” he stated.

He added that lots of hard work and dedication was put into investigating the reasons behind Ghana’s abysmal performance at the 2014 World Cup and the recommendations must be implemented.

“If sports would be developed to appreciable standards in the country, he said, “most of the recommendations must be considered”.

Mr. Yeboah also congratulated the Black Queens for winning gold at the All African Games adding that they must be celebrated for their efforts.

He also expressed gratitude to President Mahama for saving the nation another looming embarrassment by ordering for the payment of some of the Black Queens’ bonuses that ensured they left the Mplaza Hotel.

“I congratulate the President for saving the nation by stepping in to pay US$ 5,000 each to the players after they have refused to leave the hotel unless their bonuses including past debts were paid,” he stated.

He advised that, special attention must be given to the female teams to motivate them win more medals for the country.

In his welcome address the patron of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), Mr. Amarkai Amartteifio said, it has been a very difficult year for association, but on the positive side, it has provided the association with useful lessons and the opportunity for self-evaluation.

“It is said that those who do not learn the lesson of history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of history”.

He added that, there is a new constitution and new leadership and therefore the constitution must throw light on their path and guide them to the realisation of their goals and objectives.

“I invite members of this important association to re-dedicate themselves to the ideals of the association by upholding the tenets of the new constitution.”

Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed congratulated the award winners for the effort and urged other sportsmen and women to ensure they distinguish themselves in the disciplines in order to be recognised in subsequent events.

He added that, the ministry and SWAG must collaborate, celebrate and honor sportsmen and women who over the years have dedicated themselves to serve the nation.

By Michael D Abayateye and Albert Agyeman

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