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16.07.2002 Sports News

Andam Speaks out: No support for Coach Atuahene

By Kenneth Ekow Andam
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Wrongful Accusation: Andam request for redress of C'wealth games issues This article is addressed to fellow Ghanaian athletics fans, athletic teammates, sports enthusiasts and the leadership of the nation. I hope anyone that reads this article realizes that I speak for myself and I say what I feel is right and appropriate. I am hoping that Ghana sets clear parameters that will define what a qualified athlete has to do to get to a competition and represent Ghana. I am hoping and waiting for Ghana to establish a selection criterion that will present the best athletes to compete and represent Ghana in all meets so that we can win laurels and not waste the taxpayer's money. I know a lot of athletics fans are wondering why I decided to withdraw from the commonwealth games and so I'd take this opportunity to set the record straight. First, I did not opt to withdraw from the commonwealth games because I was opposed to Mr. Atuahene being dropped from the team. I withdrew from the games because after practicing and getting ready to compete I realized that I wasn't in peak performance shape to bring success to the team. The other reason was that, I had made some commitments with work and family for the summer and so due to the lack of communication from the association to inform me of what the years agenda was, I decided to focus on work and family rather than focus on track and field. Second, I haven't spoken to anybody about Mr. Atuahene and so what has been published is all garbage. This is my opinion, Mr. Atuahene hasn't served Ghana and the athletes well in the capacity that he is in and hence he doesn't deserve to be on the team to the games or even represent Ghana as a chief coach. That is my opinion and you can relay it to him that I said this, “Mr. Atuahene I hope you realize that you had an opportunity to make a difference in athletics for Ghana and you blew it more than once”. I will still compete regardless of what Ghana does, I hope that the association get their act together and make some changes that will bring progression to Ghana athletics. These are the issues that I see with the athletics program (Bold): Lack of communication: Call once in a while to check in on the athletes Administrative Incompetence: Replace all bribe takers with honest leaders National Interest: Set a justifiable criterion for an open and fair selection of teams and officials, and make it open to the public Yearly Rooster: Setup a yearly calendar of competitions and inform all athletes so that nobody can say they didn’t get informed. Public Notice: Travel expenses must be publicly noted and approved budgets must be announced so that athletes and officials know what they will get on each competition or games. Accountability: Officials should be accountable for money that is taken to competitions as travel money for the team. After competition Ghana has to request a full accountability of money spent so that expenses can be justified. No more pocketing of left over taxpayer’s money by individuals. Paper work has to be completed and submitted so that we can all feel clean and clear about how the taxpayer’s money was dispersed. Coaching Standards: Let coaches’ work and earn a position on a traveling team before they get to go. If a coach doesn’t work hard to help the athletes succeed, then he doesn’t deserve to go to the games. Replace him and take the hard working coach that have athletes that are performing or the coach that all the athletes feel deserve to go to the games to help them succeed. I will suggest that the association replaces all incompetent coaches because it makes them look really bad. Official: Reduce the official travel list; spend the taxpayer’s money equitably by taking people that will bring benefit to the games, the team, and the country. If I were the minister of youth and sports, I will stay at home and administer to make sure that all organizational problems are resolved before I even think of making a trip to any competition. Use yourself as an example Mr. Minister and let others know that you stand for good leadership. Please set the standard for others to follow because we all look up to people like you that we entrust with responsibilities of such magnitude. Athletes: If you are not ranked on the IAAF list, you should make it a point not to go to major competitions like the world championships, Olympics or the commonwealth games. Point and fact is that your attendance will not bring any value or benefit to the taxpayer, Ghana, and the team. Athletes should also stop back biting and work as a unified front, who knows, Ghana might someday win medals at major international competitions (Olympics, World Championship etc. not African Games and Championships) Head Coach Position: Please get a competent individual to run the athletics program so that we can all benefit, Ghana needs a person that has organizational or interpersonal skills that will lead this team forward. If you can’t replace him with competency then all athletes should find something to do with themselves because they are never going to get anywhere in athletics with the way Ghana’s program is setup at present. Executive: I hope you stand up and make a difference for all of us like you promised me while I was Ghana working and I visited your office to talk to you. I think you can make a lot of changes if you listen to the voice of the masses, and follow your leadership strengths, which resides in a good support from you workers and athletes collectively.
Even though I love track and field, it sometimes gets frustrating when you realize that your leaders are not looking out for your best interest. I have never been a favorite and so I laugh when I see people refer to the first team that was selected for the games as Atuahene's favorite athletes. To all those Individuals that wrote about favorite athletes being selected for the competition this summer, I hope you learn a big lesson from this experience and not shoot your mouth off when you don't know any facts or you know and you pretend. I hope all the athletes that wrote about favoritism realize that, when they were favorites they never complained, they just kept quite and gossiped about me while I wasn't around because I had confronted the officials about why I wasn't getting to compete. Like the case in Seville and also in Sydney when I had run faster in the individual races than most of you but never got to run in any sprint except the relay, you knew that I deserved to run and yet you kept your mouth shut like toddlers. Now you know how I felt and at least something good has come out of this year's fiasco. To the association, I wish you the best of luck in your future decision-making. To the athletes, I hope you all learn a lesson and become united to fight for the common interest of all. To the Ghana taxpayer, I respect your money's value and so I am sorry I cannot go to the games to represent you and Ghana at my present performance shape. I feel that if I go to the commonwealth games at the performance shape that I am in at present, I will end up wasting your money, my time, and Ghana's resources and so I have elected not to attend the games. I hope all of you understand the stance I have taken and hope all other athletes do the same to lift the image of our sport and our country. Next year I will be ready to make you proud of what you invest your hard earned money in if I am given the opportunity to represent Ghana and you. I will be back on the track in full strength and I will prove it with the times I run next season. Good Luck to all. Best regards, Kenneth Ekow Andam

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