The President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Mr Ben Nunoo Mensah, has predicted that governments’ over-concentration on football will eventually lead to the collapse or death of least financed sports disciplines in the country.
He said over the years, it has emerged that a chunk of resources allocated to sports have gone to football to the detriment of the least financed disciplines which struggles to raise ‘peanuts’ to participate in international championships.
“This is a trend we must halt as a nation else financial challenges will kill the other disciplines. The national teams are properties of the state and the state must be seen to be showing concern about the state of these disciplines.”
Speaking at the Handball Association of Ghana (HAG) launch of a new logo last week as a Special Guest of Honour, the GOC President urged government to allocate a percentage of what is given to football to help the federations survive.
According to him, funding has become very challenging for the respective federations, placing huge responsibilities on the shoulders of their leaders (presidents) to raise funds for their activities.
He charged the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and National Sports Authority (NSA) to be more responsive to the plight of the federation and persuade government to make resources available for the federations.
“National teams are properties of the state but sadly they don’t get the needed support from the state. As a result it hinders their preparations for events and struggle to challenge other nations.”
“What happened at the last Olympic Games should be a good example for us as a country. I believe if we had prepared well enough, our story would not have been the one bronze we won. It was not the best for us as a country,” he said.
“We must accept one reality that every Ghanaian child cannot be good in football. The other disciplines will also offer similar routes in sports for the youth to also pay their dues to the state just like what a footballer does.”
He lamented the situation where other national teams sleep in poor hotels for camps, travel in rickety vehicles and under grim and challenging circumstances yet expected to win medals.
In his view, the nation must set its priority right and invest massively in sports if it wants its athletes to compete for spaces on international podiums.
“Sports is now big business and nation must accept that and help. Sadly, all the attention is on football but it must not be so.”
However, he urged federations to also emulate the practices of the football people who he believes are enjoying the fruits of branding over the years.
“Football has a good brand and it appeals to the corporate sector. I want to appeal to the federations to learn from what the football people are doing and simulate some of them. The companies want visibility, mileage and exposure. The federations must find a way to provide these if they hope to catch the attention of the corporate sector,” he said.
BY ANDREW NORTEY