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Sports News Sun, 4 Feb 2007

100,000 dollar baseball kit donated to Ghana

Accra, Feb. 4, GNA - African Development Foundation (ADF), in collaboration with a 22-member delegation from the United State comprising past and present baseball stars and managers, on Saturday presented another chunk of kit worth 100,000 dollars to the Ghana Baseball and Softball Association (GHABSA).


The first consignment of kit worth the same amount was presented to GHABSA in February last year. This year's items include baseball bats, jerseys, t-shirts, shoes, gloves and catchers gears.


The USAID Ghana Office also donated 50,000 dollars through the ADF for the development of baseball in Ghana. Mr. George Ntim, Founder and President of the American-based ADF told the GNA Sports that USAID and Dr. Pamela Bridgewater, the US Ambassador to Ghana had been the driving forces behind the effort to make Ghana a baseball hub in Africa.


He said the Ambassador and USAID were very instrumental in bringing down the high powered 22-member delegation to make the donation, hold baseball clinic, explore other opportunities of support for the game in Ghana and also start a 'Little League Baseball' in Ghana.


The trip of the stars to Ghana was also for the delegation to help consolidate the gains made so far and to explore opportunities of support for the game in Ghana.


The occasion was also used to organise two baseball matches between the junior side of the All Stars of Tema and Accra and as well as the senior sides.


The Tema team won the junior game while their Accra counterparts won the senior game sponsored by Tigo.


About 400 kids between the ages of seven and 14 from 20 schools in Accra and Tema have since February last year been trained in the game, whilst a 'Little League' of players between the ages of 15 and 19 have been introduced in country under the auspices of ADF and GHABSA since 1992. The Ghanaian baseball team recently won a bronze medal in South Africa.

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"We brought in the stars to give a buzz to the game in Ghana with the view of attracting the attention of the general public and corporate sponsors' to the game and its prospects for the country," Mr. Ntim said.


Leading the delegation are US Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Dave Winfield, formerly of the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Sandiego Padres and also Omar Minaya, the current Manager of the New York Mets, one of the biggest teams in the US.


"Coming from a poor country like Dominican Republic, Mr. Minaya started his carrier in US Baseball as a rooky and rose to his present position where he now manages one of the biggest teams in New York. He can therefore identify with the poor conditions that exist in Ghana and trust that players coming from a place like Ghana can also make it big in the US," Mr. Ntim noted.


He said the prospects that baseball had for this country were


vast, adding that the least paid baseball player in the US Middle


and Major League got at least 3250,000 dollars a year and the


highest paid players earned 25 million dollars. Mr. Ntim said that plans were afoot to bring down a US


Little League Baseball team from Harlem, New York to play

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against the Ghanaian Little League team's next year, adding that


arrangements were also being made for baseball exchange


programmes between some academies in the US and schools in


Ghana and also between all the 30 Baseball teams in the US and


teams in Ghana. In separate interviews, Mr. Minaya and Mr. Winfield


expressed confidence in the Ghanaian lads and told the GNA


Sports that in the next five years or less, Ghana would be in the


position to export players to the US Middle League Baseball. Mr. Winfield noted that even though Ghana was a well

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known soccer nation, not everybody in Ghana could play


soccer and the introduction of baseball therefore presented a


great opportunity for non-soccer playing Ghanaians to be


involved in the sport that teaches about life and also leads to


community and national development. Rev. Albert Ocran, President of GHABSA regretted that


since 1992, when baseball was included in the national sporting


activities, GHABSA had not been supported by the National


Sports Council (NSC) for baseball activities. He expressed the hope that with the coming of the baseball

stars and managers, the NSC and private corporate sponsors


would develop and keen interest in the sport and help develop it


to a point where Ghana would make gains from it. Prince Ernest Oduro-Mensah, Chief Executive Officer of


the NSC gave the assurance that GHABSA and baseball would


be given the needed priority and support from this year, adding


that the Council would assist GHABSA raise support from


corporate Ghana to develop the sport.

Source: GNA