Opinions Thu, 13 Oct 2016

Is it becoming a crime to compete for Ghana?

On 29th August, 2016, Sports Minister Hon. Nii Lante Vanderpuye in an interview on Happy FM said his outfit had no money to buy tickets for the Black Stars players to fly down to play the 2017 AFCON qualifier with Rwanda because he is saving the little his outfit has for the Paralympic team and the Black Maidens World Cup in Jordan.

The Paralympic team left Ghana to Rio through the philanthropism of friends and support from the International Paralympic Committee.

The ministry could only fly two coaches to Rio after the athletes had already left for Rio. So what happened to the money the Minister talked about?

The Black Maidens left for Jordan without playing any friendly match. The team had initially earmarked friendly matches with Qatar and Israel because of their closeness to Jordan for acclimatisation but that did happen because both countries do not have female teams.

The Black Maidens then shifted attention to Ethiopia and South Africa but the Ministry said there is no money for those friendlies. So where is the money Hon. Nii Lante talked about after refusing to buy tickets for the Black Stars players?

The Minster asked the technical team to try playing local friendly matches so the team relocated from Prampram to Cape Coast. But unfortunately for them, they couldn't get any female team to play because the female league had ended.

The Maidens left for Jordan without playing any friendly match so they used their first game against defending champions Japan as a friendly which they lost 5-0. I am sure if they had played at least a friendly, the result wouldn't have been like that.

Now the Black Maidens have qualified for the quarter finals of the U17 Women's World Cup and still, nothing has been given them.

Qualification bonus to the tournament has not been paid and qualification bonus for qualifying from the group stage too has not been paid.

A report by a member of the management team of the Black Maidens who spoke from Jordan this morning on Happy FM said the team had to even sign an undertaking at their new hotel after relocating by virtue of moving to the next stage.

Meanwhile, Hon. Nii Lante Vanderpuye on Monday, 10th October 2016 in an interview on Happy FM said someone was on his way to Jordan with some cash for the team. Today is 13th, yet the person is not in Jordan. Maybe the said person is going by 'trotro'.

So why is the Hon. Minister doing that?

The Black Stars came with their own ticket, government did not buy. So no spending.

They did not win the game against Rwanda so no winning bonus was paid. No spending.

So where is the money the Minister spoke about on the 29th of August?

Let's be honest in our submissions and put away all sentiments, don't you think what happened in Brazil would have happened again if it were to be the Black Stars? Remember the players revolted because Joseph Yamin had announced that the money was on the way to Brazil but after four days, no money had gotten to Brazil.

I am not endorsing that bad conduct of the players in Brazil in 2014 but it appears our Minister is not adding anything new to the system. We are not learning from our mistakes.

We must be very careful because our attitude towards our athletes will soon send all of them away.

Kevin Prince Boateng opted to play for Ghana while his brother Jerome Boateng opted to play for Germany. Check the difference.

Ignatius Gaizer opted to switch nationality to Holland and he won his first gold medal right after switching. Check the difference.

Magaret Simpson switched nationality to Mauritius and it is not a source of worry for us? With no disrespect to Mauritius, but for Mauritius to be able to wrestle an athlete from the claws of Ghana means a lot and it's worrying.

Is it a crime to opt to compete for your country as a sportsman? Why are we making it a crime for our athletes to compete on the ticket of Ghana?

I am not happy because we are in a country where politics has taken over everything. Either than that how can the Sports Minister say he is saving money for the two teams for their respective competitions, yet those teams still had nothing?

It is unfair the way we are now treating our sportsmen and women. They also deserve better.

Good day Hon. Nii Lante Vanderpuye!

Columnist: Sheikh Tophic Sienu