The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of Ghana 2008 last week made public its decision as regards the amounts soccer lovers would have to pay to watch matches when the Continent's biggest soccer fiesta kicks off in January.
The LOC certainly has the mandate to take all decisions as far as Ghana 2008 is concerned but some of us believe that its decisions ought not be taken solely in its closed door air conditioned rooms.
Especially when it has to do with how much of a hole people are going to leave in their bank accounts (that is if bank accounts exist in the first place), some of us think that the LOC should not take decisions as if it is operating from Mars and so does not know the reality on the ground in Ghana.
I have no doubt that the LOC is hoping that the spectators who would be accompanying the 11 other teams to the tournament would prepare adequately and so would be able, after “melting” whatever currencies they would arrive in Ghana with, to watch the games.
So assuming all the visitors would be able to afford 100k and above, is it possible that we would have more visitors than Ghanaians filling the stands and so the LOC is focused more on the “outside” money rather than the money at “home”?
That aside, has it occurred to Rex Danquah's LOC that as the tournament progresses teams would be eliminated and that most teams would leave with their supporters?
Does it not stand to reason that for the matches to be well patronized till the very end, it is the locals who would make it possible?
Considering the income levels in Ghana and with Nii Adjiri Blankson busily beautifying the capital and rendering thousands of people jobless, how on earth is Rex Danquah's LOC expecting the “mobrowas” to find even the minimum 100k to buy tickets? Or the tournament is not meant for the “mobrowas”?
I have been hearing some sports analysts try to denominate 100k cedis (which is the going price for the cheapest seats) in dollar terms and try to create the impression that 100k is “only” $11 or so. Brilliant!!!
But has it occurred to those analysts that in jurisdictions that tickets cost a minimum of $11 the economic fundamentals are not the same as what pertains in Ghana?
In Ghana, the minimum wage is less than 20k whiles in those jurisdictions that some people want us to compare Ghana to, the wage per hour for even menial jobs is more than $11.
So if an hours work can pay for a ticket for somebody and others have to work for at least a week to make 100k how can people attempt to compare apples and oranges?
The truth of the matter is that Rex Danquah's LOC has priced the masses out of watching the games and there is no point in dancing around the matter.
Of course, for those sports analysts who think that 100k is not something that Ghanaians should be crying over, it is quite obvious that they would be given some tags of sorts and so they would watch the matches for free.
Indeed, when I heard one such analyst say that people would pay anything to watch Didier Drogba and Michael Essien play, I just shook my head.
So watching Drogba and Essien play live would make people pay any “unreasonable” amount? Please!!!
Let's learn to call a spade a spade.
If a few people can afford 100k and above, over 80% of Ghanaians cannot afford it and we cannot run away from that fact.
For those people who wanted to find an escape route for Rex Danquah's LOC and pin the high cost of tickets on CAF, the Continental Body has come out to state categorically that it has nothing to do with the LOC's pricing policy and that CAF is only interested in making sure that tickets are ready for the tournament.
If Rex Danquah's LOC is operating from Mars, then it can go ahead and continue to work towards having matches played in empty stadiums. But if Rex Danquah's LOC is operating in HIPC Ghana, then some of us are begging them to take a second look at their pricing policy and add a human face to it.
Ghanaians certainly love their football and the Black Stars but we are certainly not magicians to conjure monies to pay 100k and above to watch the Ghana 2008 matches.