Visiting Everton FC Disability Manager, Mr. Steve Johnson on Friday called on the Director-General of the National Sports Authority (NSA) Prof. Peter Twumasi to discuss areas the two outfits can collaborate to develop disability sports in Ghana and help change perspective about the disabled.
Johnson, who heads Everton in the Community, the charity wing of English Premier League side, Everton, is in the country on a four-day visit and is hosted by the Ghana Deaf Football Federation (GDFA).
According to him, Ghana was among a few countries paying attention to issues related with Persons With Disability (PWDs), adding that ‘it was the right move in achieving equal rights for the disabled on the basis of inclusion, equality and non-discrimination.
Briefing Prof. Twumasi on the Everton in the Community project, the former World Amputee Footballer of the Year capped 130 times for the English amputee national team with three World Cup medals to his name, said, the project was one of the UK’s top sport charities, firmly established on the world stage of community sports development.
“Everton in the Community aims to use the power of sport to motivate, educate and inspire people in our local communities to improve their life chances. As Everton’s official charity, it is considered one of the Premier League’s leading community schemes due to the quality and reach of its various programmes.”
“I have been here before to help develop more disability-friendly sports programmes, and it is quite impressive to see that the people in charge of sports in the country all get involved to help disability sports. This is reassuring. We will continue our partnership programme by inviting the Ghanaian counterparts over to The United Kingdom to play matches in Premier League facilities to help raise the profile of disability sports.”
Mr. Johnson who became disabled at age 21 while playing football said he was lucky to play volleyball at the highest level thanked the NSA boss and the GDFA for the warm reception, adding that, ‘it is great to meet disabled people in a different country with several cultures.’
Professor Twumasi commended him for the choice of Ghana and the interest in the nation’s disability sports, noting that the government was ready to offer the needed support to grow it to the level it deserves.
“This is a great gesture from you and your outfit. We are very much impressed with the initiative and all I want you to know is that government is fully in support of your initiative and is ready to support in any way possible to see disability sports grow in Ghana.”
Later in the day, Mr. Johnson interacted with members of the deaf football team, Black Wonders and the amputee football team, pledging his organisation’s support for them.
Mr. Johnson is expected to call on the executives of the National Paralympic Committee to discuss development issues for the PWDs.