The Ghana Beach Sports Association (GBSA) is set to kick-start the maiden edition of the Beach Soccer League in coastal communities with series of workshops and events aimed at creating awareness, educating interested groups and individuals ahead of the kick-off in March.
This follows recent calls by the CEO of the National Sports Council for all associations to be on their toes and work harder to bring value to sports in the country. Mr W.K. Agra has been a strong advocate of action and implementation of sports projects especially disciplines perceived to be lesser known sports.
For this reason, the GBSA has moved quickly to form a marketing and sponsorship committee headed by Mr. Edward Fokuo of Glico to explore ways of identifying and maximising potential sponsors to partner the growth and development of beach sports in Ghana. These sponsors would also be playing the role of partners in developing the various disciplines of beach sports along the coast lines and inland communities.
Mr Bawah Fuseini who is the General Secretary of the GBSA admitted the association has been inundated with calls for a league and flooded with applications by coastal teams from Accra, Keta, Cape Coast, Sekondi, Ada and other towns and cities. But he insists the excitement and interest must be matched by sound management practices.
He said that new international beach soccer rules governing the game must first be introduced, taught and applied by Ghanaian teams. ''if we want to be taken seriously and compete internationally, we must start with the laws and rules of the game, acquire the technical know-how and put in place the infrastructure. Thankfully we have beautiful beaches dotted along Ghana's coastlines and that is where the youth, schools and communities come in''
Major challenges that have hampered the growth and development of beach soccer in Ghana include the lack of sponsorship and technical logistics to support the game. President of the GBSA, Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah, admits the promotion of the sport has not been the best.
“As a media practitioner I would have to concede that the hype simply has not been there but I believe that past obstacles and challenges that stunted the progress of beach soccer were painful but necessary learning curves that will guide us to relentlessly push for a revamp this time around,” he said.
He boldly stated that if by the end of the year progress is not made, he would set an example by being the first to hand in a resignation letter to the NSC.
“I am not one to run away from challenges but there will be no room for excuses since 2011 has been declared a year of action by the President of this nation, we are stimulated to put our beach soccer action plan into gear. It has been a difficult and frustrating journey so far but the unflinching support of the NSC means that we can now play ball and learn from past mistakes so ensure that we do not keep still but move forward in the right direction.”
In June 2009, the Ghana Beach Sports Association (GBSA) was reconstituted with new members and tasked to revitalize beach sports in the country. The original birth of the association was an historic event which took place on Friday 26 January 2007. That year, the GBSA was officially inaugurated by the then Chief executive officer of the National Sports Council (NSC), Prince Ernest Oduro Mensah.
The historic inauguration at the Labadi Beach Hotel, followed the seal of approval from the NSC, and the sanctioning of the GBSA to organize, promote and develop ALL beach sports activities and events in Ghana. Soon after, the first ever organised Ghana Beach Soccer tournament followed when media houses in the capital competed for the Media Beach Soccer Cup at the La Beach Resort. An Accra based radio station Citi fm went on to become winners of the maiden edition as they brushed aside all opposition to take home the cup.
According to GFA technical director coach Francis Oti Akenteng, since the beach soccer World Cup is now a major part of the Fifa events calendar, the GBSA will be working in tandem with the GFA and NSC to ensure that a formidable national team is formed to represent Ghana at Caf and Fifa competitions in the near future.
“The technical aspect and rules governing beach soccer are quite different to that of association football played on grass, that is why all stakeholders including referees, coaches, sports administrators and the media must be updated on the current rules before major regional, continental or international competitions.”
Registration forms for all interested teams are available at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium through the GBSA General Secretary
Mr. Bawah Fuseini on 0302 660 389/0247 684 234 or 0247 064 020