Accra, Jan 3, GNA - The Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) has on the event of the new year extended the season's goodwill to all sportsmen and women, coaches and administrators of sports with a call for all to work to improve the image of Ghana Sports.
"We invite all those involved in promoting sports in the country to reflect on the need to be each other's keeper and join hands for a more successful sports promotion in the New Year."
The President of SWAG, Mr Ebo Quansah in a New Year Message copied to the GNA Sports urged all involved in the business of promoting sports in Ghana to put in a lot more effort than was done in the previous years, adding that, "Our collective efforts could once more make Ghana a proud sporting nation".
Mr Quansah said sports made quite a few strides in the year that has just ended with a mention of the Olympic Games in Athens where the he said the nation made its presence felt.
In the field of athletics he mentioned the exploits of Albert Essuman, otherwise known on the international athletics circuit as Ignacious Gaisah, who placed sixth in the long jump and later on beat all his competitors in the grand prix meetings to end the year as the third best long jumper in the world.
Aziz Zakari who also by reaching his second successive final in the Olympic Games brought a lot of honour to the national vest he wore but that it is unfortunate that he could not complete the final event even though he ended the year as the sixth best sprinter in the world. Margaret Simpson won the Africa's best seven event athlete, and in the Olympics she was the ninth overall and the SWAG is urging therefore urging Ghana's international athletes to challenge themselves more in the New Year.
Under Soccer, Mr Quansah said last Sunday, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko made history by playing in an all-Ghanaian Confederation Cup final first leg and that the SWAG is satisfied with the way players, officials and supporters comported themselves and it is the hope that everybody would behave as well as well during the second leg match in Kumasi next Sunday.
Mr Quansah said while playing in the finals is an achievement, the SWAG is urging the two teams to give a good account of themselves in the Champions League where the big boys are.
He said the institution of the Hall of Fame for sportsmen and women was one of the outstanding events of the sporting calendar and SWAG is grateful to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for this singular achievement.
He said SWAG is inviting the Government to honour promises made for sports development by providing the needed infrastructure and facilities to international standard.
"The SWAG believes construction of the two new stadia to host the 2008 African Cup of Nations championship in Sekondi and Tamale as well as the renovation of the Ohene Djan and the Kumasi Sports Stadia should begin immediately since "time is not on our side".
Mr Quansah said Ghana has reached a point in life when the nation should challenge for hosting rights of major tournaments adding that "We cannot do that when infrastructure remain so poor. We could certainly do better".
He said improving on the sporting lot also requires the right calibre of manpower to drive home the changes and SWAG therefore regrets the dearth of quality staff at the National Sports Council. The reason being the very low remuneration which is making it difficult for the council to attract and retain quality staff.
Mr Quansah said as the New Year has its own challenges, all national associations should be up and doing.
Amateur boxing for instance, has been in the doldrums for far too long. It is a shame that the discipline that has so far given this nation all its medals at the Olympics could not qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
He said football, which is the passion of nation still remains a problem area and asked that all must work hard to ensure that for the first time in the history of the nation, the Black Stars qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Mr President of SWAG said as sports journalists, the year will be equally challenging and reminded all members of their obligation to the state and the association.
He wished all a Happy New Year and that may 2005 fulfill the dreams of the country qualifying for the World Cup and generally for the improvement of the fortunes of Ghana sports.