Ghana’s preparation to host and organize the 2023 African Games (AG) is still on course despite the negative effect of COVID-19 on sports programmes globally, Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah has said.
According to the Minister, there is no indication to postpone the games and needed to prepare for the continental multi-sport event.
“The 2023 African Games Project Team, led by my hard working and industrious Deputy Minister, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that Ghana organizes and hosts a memorable Africa Games, come 2023,” he stated.
He was speaking on Wednesday when he took his turn at the Ministers’ press briefing to provide details on the easing of restrictions with regard to sports.
“Ghana would continue to put every facility and logistics in good shape to host a very memorable competition in 2023,” he stressed.
Following the massive contribution and benefits of sports to the individuals and country as a whole, he said, efforts must be made to provide the avenue for people to engage in sports.
Hence, the need to ease restrictions and allow non-contact sports including athletics, swimming, golf, badminton and tennis to resume.
“Sports contribute to a wide range of social benefits such as improvement in health, crime reduction and the promotion of social and national integration. Sports also help individuals in tension management and the inculcation of desirable values such as honesty, perseverance, courage and respect for law and order, “he stated.
In addition, he said, many of the core values inherent in sport were compatible with the principles necessary for development and peace, such as fair play, cooperation, respect for opponents, teamwork, and acceptance of rules while the life skills learned through sports, help empower individuals and enhance psychological well-being such as self-esteem.
“Now more than ever in this COVID-19 pandemic era, the link between health promotion and sport holds the key to a healthy Ghana to achieving GOAL THREE (health and wellbeing) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),”he explained.
Gradually, he said, government would ease restrictions on other sporting disciplines including boxing and football, taking into consideration health protocols.
For football, he said, there was the need for proper testing and other activities to be done to ensure the safety of players and officials at stadiums across the country.
He therefore urged the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the National Sports Authority to keep working together and ensure facilities were safe before football resumes.
“I am very confident in the current GFA administration and certain they would do everything possible to ensure the safety of everyone before football resumes, “he noted.
He urged gyms and keep fit clubs to strictly observe social distancing protocols as they go about their workouts to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
BY MICHAEL D.ABAYATEYE