Ghana sports enters new era

Thu, 15 Jan 2009 Source: GNA

A GNA Feature by Caesar Abagali

Tamale, Jan. 15, GNA - A new era is expected to dawn on Ghana sports with the assumption of power by President John Evans Atta Mills' administration with expectations of ideals goals and visions to be developed to ensure Ghana is counted amongst the best on African continent and the world.

The previous government's greatest achievement was the qualification of Ghana's Black Stars to the World Cup for the first time ever after so many years of unsuccessful bids especially under E. T. Mensah, Member of Parliament of Ningo- Prampram, who is also credited to be the longest serving Sports Minister in the nation's history. Many questions that would now hang on the minds of Ghanaians especially sports fans and enthusiasts would be as to which direction Ghana Sports would take under this administration? The first concern would be that qualifying the country to the World Cup in South Africa must not elude the nation. This therefore would require picking a dynamic person with the requisite knowledge as Sports Minister under this new administration to ensure that sports in the country gained its past glory.

The time is now opportune to separate Youth and Sports affairs from the Ministry of Education to ensure effective administration in both sports and education since the two are very broad.

One notable figure worthy of mention to handle the position should therefore not be far from grabbing and that is no other than Hon. Abuga Pele, the former Ranking Member of Parliament on Sports who right from the time the NDC went into opposition in 2001 had advocated for a split between Sports and Education in the Ministry, which many sports analysts including this writer came to agree. But unfortunately his call fell on deaf ears under the previous NPP administration.

It is therefore expected that as a policy, Abuga Pele's party should vigorously pursue the objective of separating the two ministries to allow for efficiency and concentration of efforts as well as for youth development whose talents have been left to lie fallow or to resort to petty trading on the streets.

Amid speculations of who runs what ministry under President Mills' administration, it is the fervent hope of all Ghanaians that the next Minister for Sports would be able and prepared to develop sports from the grassroots, especially from the school level rise to the top while spreading sports activities to the various disciplines and concentrating on ensuring that Ghana qualifies to the World Cup in South Africa next year.

Names like Enoch Teye Mensah, Mr Abuga Pele, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye and Mr. Kojo Bonsu are already making the rounds in the media and are uppermost in the minds of many Ghanaians and many sports enthusiasts. It is probably better to pair and try Abuga and Vanderpuye whom with their youthful exuberance and varied sports experiences can together give sports development a renew boost from the E.T eras. In view of their solid back grounds it would also better to use them so that they "Run" with the youth.

According to the Chronicle Newspaper, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye burst onto the sports scene as a sports commentator at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. He ascended to sports administration with Dansoman Liberty Professionals, and he is a part of the success story of the introduction of scientific football into Ghana soccer. He is passionate about sports which can be traced to his student days at Legon, where he was a prominent in the Amalgamated sports activities.

Abuga Pele was described by the paper of him making, "A stake to the position with a rich experience gathered from serving as Ranking Member for the Sports Committee in the last Parliament and as a former footballer. He, despite his tight academic schedule during his youthful days, still found time to play active football with Real Tamale United (RTU). Now that he has lost out on his parliamentary ambitions, it probably looks like the government need to award his long service to the party in the legislative house, maybe with a ministerial appointment to help tap his experience."

That is indeed a vivid description of Abuga Pele. What is missing is the fact that he was invited to the Academicals in 1979 and was voted the best Middle League Star in 1979. Mr. Pele was again voted the best athlete in Navrongo Secondary School (NAVASCO) and best sportsman in Legon Hall in 1982 and captain for the Legon football club under the administration of Professor John Evans Atta Mills who was the President of the Amalgamated sports activities and eventually called to the senior national team, the Black Stars in 1988.

Abuga Pele, apart from excelling in the sporting arena also holds a Masters of Philosophy Degree in Development Management from the University of Ghana. As an interested stakeholder in Ghana Sports, it is my fervent hope that President Mills would withstand the intense pressure of lobbying for positions and somehow use such youthful brains for the development of Ghana sports and not concentrate only on Ministers under Rawlings' administration who have all played their parts and the time has come for new blood with current knowledge of sports development.

It is the hope of many that under the Mills' government, open sports administration would characterize the times and we would see more of accountability than the previous administration, especially on the use of the Tax payers' funds to achieve the needed results in soccer, athletics, hockey, boxing, cycling, school sports and the lesser developed disciplines to make Ghana regain its past glory in sports which seem to have been neglected and for general sports to achieve its sole purposes through pragmatic and energised approaches. 15 Jan. 09

Source: GNA