No Ado About CAN 2008

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Tue, 18 Dec 2007 Source: Maxwell Okamafo Asomani Addo

The 2008 Cup of African Nations to be hosted by Ghana has been relegated to the background as the contests in the various political parties for positions in preparation for election 2008 has had the effect of denying the tournament the much-needed media hype to generate enthusiasm in the Ghanaian body politic. With barely a month to the commencement of the tournament, many sports enthusiasts have been lamenting the virtual lack of any serious effort to generate enthusiasm in the Ghanaian public towards the tournament.

Quite apart from the LOC taking the trophy round some parts of the country, as well as ceremonial opening of the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium and the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Accra and Kumasi respectively, there is no serious well-coordinated campaign to get the citizenry, especially those in the cities where the matches would be played, to get in the tournament mood.

A number of factors have conspired with the LOC’s own apparent inertia to take media attention from the upcoming tourney.

One such factor is the fact that some of the leading political parties of the land have been selecting their leaders just around the same period that the LOC needed the front pages of the newspapers, as well as prime time on the electronic media, to generate the needed enthusiasm.

With the larger section of the media firmly focused on the political battles going on in the PNC, CPP, and NPP, very little attention was being paid to generating the needed fever for the upcoming tournament.

Another factor is the onset of the yuletide.

Walking through all the major supermarkets and stores in the capital city as well as other cities, one gets blasted by Christmas carols, both the foreign and the local kinds. The effect is that, whether one is a Moslem, Buddhist, Traditionalist, or Christian, one cannot help but to get in the Christmas mood; the mood that the commercial concerns that run these stores want to generate so as to get people to spend money on buying gifts for loved ones. So, if the LOC cannot get these commercial concerns as well as the TV and FM stations to be repeatedly blasting the Black Stars’ cheer-songs, why is the LOC not, at the very least, making CAN 2008 tickets available to be bought and presented as Christmas gifts?

This is where the LOC’s own inertia is most apparent.

But in all these, no one can ignore the effort being expended by the ‘Sports Crews’ of the various TV and FM networks, who have been doing their level best to whip up some degree of enthusiasm.

However, since these efforts are usually expended on the very limited time that the stations allot to sports programmes, it means that their best efforts are still woefully inadequate to achieve the desired results.

Some foreigners who have come into the country ahead of the tournament, have been speaking to this reporter and expressing surprise that with just about a month to go they cannot “feel the tournament-mood in the air”.

“I thought that this was supposed to be the next big thing for Ghana after the participation at the World Cup, but I can’t feel it at all; what is happening here? It is as if the tournament is to be held in Togo and not Ghana, people here do not seem to care one bit,” wondered one Joseph Awuila, who said he traveled all the way from Spain to come and support the Green Eagles of Nigeria. Mr. Awuila’s observations were shared by two expatriates in whose company he spoke to this reporter.

From every indication, the LOC would have to wave a magic wand to perform a miracle that would get the country into the tournament mood before the first kick-off on January 20th 2008.

As things stand, it seems that people are counting on the Black Stars’ performance to generate public interest in the tourney.

But, what happens if, God forbid, the Black Stars fail to shine at the beginning of the tournament?

A stitch in time…

Source: Maxwell Okamafo Asomani Addo
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