Pusiga (U/E), March 29, GNA - The sixth annual inter-collegiate sports festival for Teacher Training Colleges in the Northern Zone began at the Gbewaa Teacher Training College in Pusiga near Bawku last Tuesday. The participating colleges are Gbewaa Training College and Navrongo St. John Bosco's Training College from the Upper East Region and Tumu Training College and Nusrat Jehan Training College from the Upper West Region. The other colleges are Bagabaga Training College, Bimbilla Training College and Tamale Training College from the Northern Region. During the weeklong games, the participating colleges are to compete in soccer; volleyball, table tennis, netball and athletics after which the best sports men and women would be selected to represent the zone at the national festival.
In an opening speech, Mr. Mahami Salifu, Upper East Regional Minister, underscored the importance of sports in fostering unity and peaceful co-existence among the youth. He said through good sportsmanship the nation would be able to harness its intellectual potential to create the needed strategies to move the country out of its economic woes. The Regional Minister therefore urged the sportsmen and women to ensure that their success in the field of sports serves as a catalyst to motivate them to succeed in other areas of human endeavour.
Mr Salifu cautioned sportsmen and women against the use of drugs to enhance their performance, adding that such a practice would only bring disgrace and ruin to their lives and future aspirations. On the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the Regional Minister urged trainee teachers to serve as ambassadors of the anti-AIDS campaign in their various schools and communities in order to halt the spread of the disease.
Mr Salifu said Government is in the process of upgrading Teacher Training Colleges to diploma awarding institutions that to churn out high calibre of teachers with the needed experience to redeem the sunken image of education in the country. "Speeding up the process, however, would depend on the ability of colleges to convince government that they are capable of taking up the challenge," he added.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Bawku Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Abdul-Rahman Gumah expressed displeasure at the spate of student indiscipline and rowdyism that have often characterized competitive games among educational institutions. He said such behaviour does not augur well for sports and academic performance, emphasizing "that discipline should permeate every aspect of our life if we want to succeed in any endeavour that we undertake. Mr. Gumah urged stakeholders in the sports sector to assist government to redeem the dwindling fortunes of sports in the country, adding that government on its part would ensure that sporting facilities across the country are rehabilitated to encourage the youth to contribute to sports development. He announced that plans are far advanced for the provision of inner parameters for the Bawku, Navrongo and Sandema stadiums to curtail rowdysim by spectators.
In the opening soccer match, Bimbilla Training College came from two goals down to level up with host Gbewaa Training College. In the other two matches, Tamale Training College thrashed Nusrat Jahan Training College by five goals to nil whilst St. John Bosco's Training College also spank Bagabaga Training College by three goals to nil.