Is Ghana Tennis Out Of The Ditch Yet?
Even with COVID-19 restrictions, tennis has emerged as the only sport that has been active in Ghana. The love of the sport cannot be muted by any virus.
Tennis has shown the way. Last week we witnessed the resumption of the Ghana Premier Soccer League. The activities and events that the Ghana Premier Soccer League is outdooring pales in comparison to the flurry of events that Ghana tennis has witnessed these past few months.
So why does it still feel like Ghana tennis is in a ditch? Why does it feel like the media is all over football and yet pays very little attention to tennis? Both statements could not be far from the truth, however, we cannot discount the deliberate efforts of the leadership of the Ghana Football Association.
The hashtag "Bringbackthelove" alone is a clarion call for all well-meaning football enthusiasts to rally around. Does the Ghana Tennis Federation need it's own messaging? The hashtag "AdvantageGhana" is a very simple and common call to arms that every tennis enthusiast understands. It is a tennis score which we have heard over and over during the brighter days of Davis Cup. This is our call to action.
The most important rule in mass communication is controlling the narrative. While the GFA has professionals doing their bidding, tennis has a bunch of media gurus, all with different motivations.
Therefore, it is very difficult to get such a group to buy into the same message let alone sell it. We need to stop begging for corporate sponsorship and rather appreciate the small companies, individuals and foundations who have continually supported us. The more we show appreciation to those who have stuck with us, the more they will do for us.
Are we seriously lacking sponsors? Every event we have witnessed these past few months has had at least 10 sponsors and partners. We need to focus on what we have in hand and let go of what we don't have. Unity of purpose is what all successful organizations and groups practice to achieve desired messaging results.
These past 3 months have witnessed more events in Ghana tennis than at any other time in the history of our sport. Yes, we may not have AFKO, 555, FanMilk etc but we have had TFGs Matches of Survival, the BabyJet Invitational, the McDan Foundation Training Matches, the Sidney Katz Juniors Open and the Babolat Doubles which even added Wheelchair Tennis this Year. This week, the Accra Senior Open is on.
All these events in just one quarter is more than some countries have in a whole year.
In both 2018 and 2019, we had the world descend in Accra for ITF Junior and Senior World Tour Events. These were great events for our country and region, yet they both didn't get the desired media attention and traction.
Would it take us hosting the Davis Cup again to get the media to finally stop treating tennis like the red-haired stepchild?
We clearly have a lot going on and we have to do our own bidding in promoting our exploits.
We all need to do our best in whatever space we find ourselves to promote the sport by spreading all positive messaging from other tennis media platforms. Thanks to Dr Biney for continuously promoting tennis on his AFA TV and other media platforms.
With the number of times we've all asked, in fact, begged for corporate sponsorship, I think the response has been a deafening silence which could mean only one thing; corporate Ghana is not interested in Ghana tennis. It is time we found our own way to build. Let those who have ears hear and understand.