Chief of the Asogli State and bankroller of Hearts of Oak, Togbe Afede XIV has called on the sports community to shift from the episodic ways of managing sports to a more scientific approach to enable rapid growth of the various sporting disciplines in the country.
The renowned chief who is also the Board Chairman of Accra Hearts of Oak stated that it was time to reverse the declining trend in sports, adding that “this can only happen if stakeholders adopted a more managerial holistic approach”.
He made the recommendation as the Special Guest of Honour at the 44th Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) awards in Accra on Saturday.
The occasion also marked the 50th Anniversary of SWAG as a body.
Togbe Afede observed that sports in the country had taken a drastic downturn affecting the employment and economic gains that comes with sports.
“There has been an obvious decline in athletics. Football which is the country’s favourite sport has equally suffered,” he said.
“A 37-year AFCON trophy draught, non-performance of Ghanaian clubs on the continent with our last success in Champions League being Hearts triumph in 2000 and then following it up with the Confederations Cup in 2004.
“These are testament of the low levels our game has reached”, he noted.
Togbe Afede said it was time to adopt a managerial style in sports management, saying “We must get over the episodic ways of doing things. If we are to adopt the new method, that means we must now define the target and objective to measure our success every step of the way.”
“It is only when you have defined your target that you can aim for success”, he stated.
He added that it was time to vigorously commercialise sports and to pursue innovative methods of fund engagement including reaching out to fans and supporters with the games in their comfort zones.
He also advocated for stakeholders to tap into the unprecedented opportunities technology provides.
He said technology offers sports endless opportunities that must be grabbed to grow sports, mentioning e-sports as a viable area to pursue.
He also touched on accountability and investment as key areas that must be improved to ensure growth.
Togbe Afede asked the various stakeholders to imbibe the value of honesty as without it no amount of planning and strategizing can advance sports in the country.
“We can talk about all the planning and strategizing but without honesty on our part as sports people all our effort will come to naught”.
He urged stakeholders to desist from pursuing their selfish parochial interest at the expense of the development of sports.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO