Accra, Sept 5, GNA - The plight of Ghana's past sports heroes and heroines would soon ease considerably following the contribution of over half a billion cedis from corporate bodies and individuals into an endowment fund dubbed "GW Amartefio Endowment Fund".
The plight of the retired sportsmen and women has remained a pathetic story in the history of the country as the past heroes and heroines have lived under miserable conditions without any source of help and assistance to make their lives worth living.
These came to light at a fund raising dinner organised by Mr Amarkai Amartefio, Chief Patron of the Old Sports Men and Women Association of Ghana when an amount of 200 million cedis cash was realised to be the seed money for the commencement of the Fund.
Mr Amartefio made a personal contribution of 100 million cedis while the rest was realised at the function that was well attended by various sports personalities.
Some corporate bodies including Scancom Limited, operators Areeba mobile phone systems, Dannex Pharmaceuticals, Ghana Telecom, Red Sea Housing Agents and Frigo Services also pledged 300 million cedis towards the Fund.
Other firms that contributed to the fund raising exercise included Akosombo Textiles Limited, (ATL) Black Panther Energy Drinks, Frease Land Company Limited, distributors of Peak Milk and City FM. Mr Amartefio in an interview with the GNA Sports said the Endowment Fund, which was established about ten years ago has experienced some short falls due to the drastic reduction on the interest rate of Treasury Bills, hence the need to raise more funds to support the project.
He said that the Board of Trustees of the Fund would soon meet to find devise avenues of investments so that enough funds can be raised to support the project.
According to Mr Amartefio the Fund has for the past years taken care of the medical bills, burial expenses and the monthly stipend of 100,000 cedis for the members as well as other needs of the retired sportsmen and women.
He said the meagre nature of the monthly stipend is also a contributory factor behind the creation of the Endowment Fund so as to generate enough funds to cater for the well being of the members. Mr Amartefio emphasised the need for proper recognition to be given the retired sports men and women who have contributed in diverse ways toward the development of the country.
Over 30 retired sportsmen and women attended the fund raising exercise and each of them were presented with pieces of cloth and peak milk products as a recognition of their efforts.
Among the retired sports and women who were present at the ceremony were Addo Odammeten, former captain of the Black Stars, Kwesi Owusu, a one time prolific striker of the Black Stars and Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, also a former player of the national team and now a football coach. Also in attendance were Eddie Blay, E.K. Aryeetey, Kesse Aryeh, Ethel Jacks, Isaac Nartey, Theresa and Ernestina Akuetteh among others. Mr Owusu in a brief chat expressed delight at the programme, saying the Fund will go a long way to help the retired sports men and women enjoy more decent life.
He said the gathering has also provided him the opportunity to meet with former colleagues who were together in camp during the Olympic, Commonwealth and All Africa Games.
Mr Owusu appealed to more individuals and corporate bodies to join the crusade of lifting the image of the past sports heroes and heroines to stop them from living miserable lives after contributing to the national call.