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20.10.2010 General News

The GOC Saga, do we need another presidential intervention?

By GNA
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Accra, Oct. 19, GNA - Within a spate of one month, the sporting scene has witnessed two presidential interventions which, has gone a long way in saving the nation from international shame.

In the first instance it had to take a personal move by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills to ensure Ghana's participation at the just ended Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, which saw the nation picking up four medals, albeit with a poor preparation.

The intervention of the President was indeed timely, because it saved the nation from any form of strained relationship with India the host and other Commonwealth nations and provided a perfect opportunity for our sports men and women to put their skills to test after years of preparations.

Another intervention by the President was enough for the nation to participate in the World Amputee Football Championship in Argentina, when he again ensured that the budgetary demands of 76,000 US Dollars for the team's participation in the competition was met just on time.

The intervention came at an opportune time when the amputees had raised their hands in despair and needed the sort of 'divine intervention' from the President to save the nation from embarrassment as well as keep the morale of the team high.

These interventions are indeed commendable, but there is one nagging issue that has held sports hostage for close to two years, which is now termed the 'GOC Saga'. The ongoing power struggle at the corridors of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), seem to have thrown off-gear everything on the sporting scene.

But for the uncoordinated preparations by the various sporting disciplines as a result of the power play at the front of the GOC, Ghana might have performed better than what was exhibited at the Commonwealth Games according to reports culled by GNA Sports from the India Games fiesta.

The end result was clear that we were ill prepared for the event in India taking into consideration the fact that the national athletics team had only one week of preparations ahead of the event and the medals won could be attributed to individual efforts of the likes of Ignatius Gaisah and the female relay team and the collective efforts of the 'Team Ghana'.

The boxing team which has proven to be the country's major source of medal at such international Games, could only manage a single medal whilst the controversy over accreditation for the sports men and women also affected us immensely as the dreams of weightlifter, Majetie Fetrie, a gold medalist at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia was disqualified because he was accredited as a coach and not as a coach/athlete as was the case in the last event.

Unlike previous Games where the GOC was seen busily raising funds from corporate bodies to compliment the efforts of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, this time around the GOC could not raise a penny from the corporate world to support the athletes at the Games due to the on-going saga.

Reports gathered from India by the GNA Sports indicates that the various factions in the saga suffered serious consequences of the almost two-year old feud at the fronts of the GOC and if it is not addressed, then the future repercussions might be more damaging than what has been experienced so far.

The embarrassments suffered by officials of the National Sports Council (NSC) and even the sector Ministry as well as the "I'm walking alone" attitude by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) backed GOC should be painful lessons for all the parties in the feud by now.

Sincerely both parties would agree to the fact that Ghana could have performed better at the Games if we had presented a united front.

Indeed from the preparations of our athletes, accreditation for athletes, officials and media were bedeviled with serious problems as a result of the entrenched positions taken by the parties.

From all indications, all efforts by well meaning individuals, stakeholders and organizations to resolve the matter have hit a snag, making it obvious for another presidential intervention or the nation risk putting up another abysmal performance at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique next year.

At the 35th Awards Night of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), the Association called for a presidential intervention to bring an end to the long-standing feud, but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears and the performance of the Ghanaian team at the Commonwealth Games and the series of embarrassment suffered by officialdom should provide us with very good reasons for a positive presidential intervention.

Such an intervention should see the President calling all interested parties and other stakeholders to a round table for peace talks, negotiations and the need to adopt a middle line in the interest of Ghana sport.

Presidential intervention is a necessity and must be initiated as soon as possible for the benefit and development of Ghana sports and for prosperity sake and devoid of politicization and individual egos, since the national interest supercedes all interests.

(William D. Ezah, GNA Sports Desk)

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