Ghana's splendid performance at the world cup has brought an exciting change in the attitude of Ghanaians towards sports especially soccer. We all witnessed and participated in the cheer, the “jama” the street carnivals and all other activities which characterised the Black Stars wonderful performance at the World Cup.
All over the world, the presence of Ghanaians were felt. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Ghanaians were proud. Wherever they go, they were congratulated and given respect. The government of Ghana also did very well by honouring them. We are really proud of them .
After all the cheers and excitement which would soon die down, the question now is ,what next? How are we going to strengthen, develop and promote sports in Ghana?
For me, we have made such a great mark in the world of soccer , and can be counted as one of the best soccer nations in the world, so are we in the position to move sports forward?
Sports, as I always say, is a common cultural phenomenon shared by the whole of mankind. It also responds to man's inherent desire for physical and mental activity and imparts a sense of fulfilment and richness to human life.
Sports as a cultural phenomenon affects both man's physical and mental aspects and it is essential for the development of a happy and vigorous society and for the attainment of the individual's psychosomatic health. It is therefore of the greatest significance that people should engage in sports throughout their lives.
Sport also has the significance of an activity pursuing the ultimate limits of our human potential. On a social scale it is a significant element in the sound development of the young and the generation of a sense of solidarity in local communities. It also contributes to the national economy and promotes friendly international relations.
In order for Ghana to ensure the effective and efficient promotion of sports both the central government and the local public entities should make a systematic and planned commitment to the issues concerning the promotion of sport from a medium- and long-term perspective by regularly evaluating and reviewing their policy measures.
I have the following straight forward points available for the promotion of sports in Ghana.
• The establishment of optimal training programs for the development of top-level sportsmen in an organized and planned manner. Specifically, this means the establishment of programs for the development of sportsmen indicating the concept and nature of the training for Sports Association's rearing top-level sportsmen and of a system for instructing the sportsmen in accordance with this program.
• Provision of centres at which top-level sportsmen and eminently talented sportsmen from the regions can assemble for intensive, general training. For the reinforcement of top-level sportsmen, in particular, it is essential to create within the earliest possible time, full-scale training centres at the national level equipped with a complete spectrum of functions both in terms of equipment ("hardware") and support capabilities ("software").
• Develop and secure instructors capable of underpinning the optimal training program which are necessary for reviewing and upgrading the training system for sports instructors and encourage the use of full-time instructors for top-level sportsmen. It is equally important to promote the establishment of a National Coach Academy and reinforce the cooperative links among the instructors at the National, regional, schools and local sports clubs.
• Identify the directions in which the development of the future sports environment should take place, with the creation of a system in which top-level sportsmen can exclusively and safely concentrate on sports with a view to rising to the world's top level. Efforts are needed to upgrade the incentive measures that will facilitate the support of sports by companies and the use of top-level sportsmen as instructors.
• Create a research system in the sports medicine and science area mainly through the foundation of a National Sports Science Center (tentative name) to permit the instruction of sportsmen by fully utilizing the research findings in the area of sports medicine and science. It is also essential to establish training and coaching methods based on sports medicine and science.
• Create an anti-doping system in Ghana, this is necessary to promote efforts for the establishment of a National Anti-Doping organization (an organization responsible for comprehensive and impartial anti-doping activities in Ghana) and to upgrade Ghana's anti-doping activities.
• It is also important to enrich our children's sports activities both in and out of school by creating a regional sports environment marked by a closer bond between the schools and the local community, including cooperation toward the development of the Comprehensive Community Sports Clubs.
• Develop and upgrade the instructing ability of the teaching staff and develop and secure superior instructors. Furthermore, in order to create an environment for school children to enjoy the fun of sports activities in safety, it is necessary to promote efforts to turf outside exercise grounds in accordance with the conditions of the schools and to provide and upgrade the schools' sports facilities with a possibility of their being shared with the local community, including the creation of training rooms.
How about the lesser-known sports? Mr Charles James Aryeh of the National Sports Council made this call when the Ghana Olympic Team from the Commonwealth Games in Australia called on the President of Ghana some months ago. He said the Team could go places if they were supported with the needed infrastructure and funding. He suggested a shift from the traditional events like athletics and boxing to new disciplines and noting this was the secret behind Nigeria winning more medals at the Games.We need to develop all these areas of Sports. Coming back to the Black Stars Team, I have this suggestion to make. I wish to suggest to the Ghana Football Association that we keep the present players in this squad and prepare them for future assignments including friendly matches. We must also think about getting great strikers in our team. How about Agenda 2010.We have only 4 years. We need to plan now.
I hear FIFA gave Ghana 8million dollars, I hope no “kuluulu” .in the management of this money oo!
I believe with this little and basic advice, Ghana would be able to promote sports from the local level to the international world of sports. Any way, CONGRATULATIONS to the Black Stars Team and I believe come 2010, Ghana will surely make it to the Finals in South Africa.
I had a dream of the Black Stars winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I prayed over it, so it shall come to pass. Say Amen!! . Allez les Black Stars!!! 2010 Champions Here We Come
NB: This article was inspired by my earlier article on Developing and Promoting Sports in Ghana.
Author:Charles Nii Ayiku