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22.06.2005 Sports News

Sustaining the football momentum in Ghana

GNA
A GNA feature by Caesar Abagali
Tamale, June 22, GNA - After a decade or more of near poor performance in the football arena of sports, there seem to be a glimmer of hope in the horizon for Ghana's Black Stars. It this therefore for this reason that Minister of Education and Sports, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo and his able deputies, particularly Mr. O.B. Amoah as well as the FA must be highly commended.
For many years now football management and the results accruing from the exploits of the senior national team has convinced many that Ghana has completely lost its ability to regain its past glory in football. More so the often replacement of Chairmen of the GFA almost one every year as well as the number of times different Ministers appointed at the helm of affairs to manage sporting activities in the country can be blamed for the uncharacteristic down turn of football in the country. And it is no wonder that the nation has over years failed to qualify for any of the competitive cup finals, whether at the continental or international level.
The football scene has been embroiled by acrimony riddled with recrimination, accusation and total despair. And it took FIFA's intervention to restore some semblance of normality. And it is gratifying that in recent weeks, the success story of the Starlets and the near qualification of the Black Stars towards the forthcoming World Cup seem to have put the crisis behind football administration of the country and put on tract the country's passion.
The euphoria nationwide that greeted the success story of the Stars in far away Johannesburg, South Africa is an indication that Ghanaians love for her football prowess and its proper build-up would unite the nation than the body politic. The recent success story should however, galvanise the nation to begin to put its house in order and should not be a recipe for the re-emergence of the confusion the country had witnessed between football administrators in the past years. As a start, the FA's relationship with other external bodies like the government should be properly ironed out and its regulations must be well structured taking to take into cognisance FIFA's edict. It is gratifying and commendable at the level of motivation that was attached to the World Cup qualifying matches of the Black Stars, but more should be done in all areas of football.
In an earlier article dealing with "Financing Football in Ghana" by the GNA Sports, it was made clear that if the nation wants to regain its past glory in soccer and any sporting activity, then it was necessary not to spare funds in motivating the sports men and women. A call was also made to invite the private sector to invest in the national teams as a way of helping them financially to grow.
The current Minister of Education and Sports who jumped from the nation's "Money Basket" to mind the affairs of sports seem to understand fully how money can change and shape events. He made sure that sourcing for and releasing funds to motive the players is not a political funfair and he therefore needs commendation from all angles.
Clearly, the current football administrators and the sector Ministers seem to actually know the importance of motivation and had therefore proven their lot. They should, however, not relent in their efforts to pump in more funds in ensuring that the Black Stars and its crop of players win the remaining two matches convincingly to print their names in gold in the nation's history for qualifying Ghana for the World Cup.
To make this possible, the FA should pursue aggressively its financing agenda. Participation in the World Cup should open avenues for exploiting financial opportunities. That is why it is very important for a nation to qualify for a World Cup. Apart from raising the value of football in the country in both its marketability and standards, it also gives confidence to would be fanciers. The remaining two matches for the Black Stars have to be religiously tackled to clinch absolute qualification. No efforts should therefore be spared. It is the view of the writer that under no circumstance should the Black Stars fail to camp sufficiently for the remaining two matches. And the motivation should be even higher.
It has become necessary therefore, to sustain the momentum that is beginning to gather among the playing body. The nation's management style and Sports administration would therefore have to be planned on the basis of long-term objectives. All hands would have to come on deck and efforts directed towards the national rather a partisan approach. If the momentum is sustained and Ghana participates in the forthcoming World Cup the nation can then actually begin to emerge into the limelight of football once more and not stray into the wilderness as happened in the past with our preparations.
The time has come for all Ghanaians to show their nationalism by standing solidly behind the Stars devoid of club affiliations or partisan interest and with this, God willing, Insha Allah come World Cup Ghana can play come out of her slumber to make its mark to make the passion of the nation a reality. And this we must all strive to achieve no matter what.


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