Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak - Minister for Youth and Sports has said his major pre-occupation, will be to leave a lasting legacy for the development of the youth and sports in the country.
In statement issued after he was sworn into office on Wednesday copied to GNA Sports in Accra, Alhaji Mubarak said Ghana still lacked an effective policy to develop youth and sports and his priority was to put in place a workable national policy that will be results oriented and easy to implement.
Alhaji Mubarak who is also the Member of Parliament for Asawase in the Ashanti Region, said several blueprints for the development of youth and sports had been prepared but regrettably successive governments and ministers had been unable to pursue such laudable policies because they were inhibited by stringent budgetary considerations.
“As Minister I do not intend to limit the development of my sector to funds raised from central government. I will with the President's consent market vigorously the NDC's vision for the development of the youth and sports sector and by so doing woo potential partners and sponsors.
“The idea is not to commercialise the sector but identify organisations that are ready to invest in infrastructure and education as partners of progress. Clear guidelines will be put in place to ensure that such partnerships are not abused,” Alhaji Mubarak promised.
The Minister for Youth and Sports said while appreciating that football was the biggest sport in the country, effort will be made to develop disciplines like boxing, athletics, swimming, volleyball, handball, basketball, hockey, cricket and other lesser known sports among others as the way forward for sports development.
“Lack of infrastructure has totally killed off competitive sports at the local level. The inadequate sports facilities at our educational institutions are an eyesore and serious efforts will be put in place in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to improve such facilities.
“Aside improving physical fitness and the mental well being of the individual, sports has become a major international marketing tool.
The performances of the Black Stars at the 2006 World Cup and that of the national youth teams at various international tournaments have served as a huge forum for marketing Ghana.
“Boxing and athletics used to also sell Ghana quite effectively but we have allowed the standards to fall to an embarrassing low. The tide has to change and I'm committed to ensuring that we take a step back, appreciate our shortcomings and formulate policies in conjunction with sector ministries such as the Ministries of Education, Information, Tourism as well as the Regional Coordinating Councils to improve sports and youth development from the grassroots level in the country.
He said the Ministry will under his watch also put in place initiatives to boost disabled sports as a major policy of empowering the physically challenged to play their part.
“Next year the World Cup is coming to Africa and Ghana will have to be a great ambassador for the continent. The Ministry will work closely with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to ensure that Ghana qualifies for the tournament.
“Aside qualification and adequate preparation, we shall set up a proper marketing structure that will see Ghana's participation as a business venture aimed at wooing potential investors to all sectors of our economy.
“There will be no point in participating in such tournaments if we cannot tap the huge opportunities that such tournaments bring.” Alhaji Mubarak intimated.
The newly sworn in Minister thanked the President for offering him the opportunity to help Ghana in such a senior capacity. He also thanked his constituents for re-electing him to Parliament and promised to work hard to justify the confidence reposed in him.