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Part 1: Can sports be the way to economic freedom?

Wed, 31 Oct 2018 Source: Emmanuel Hanson

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Mr. President, this Kemba Walker, 28years Old, 1.85m who earned $12million USD (2017) as an NBA Player for Charlotte Hornets. He gives back to his community annually.

Can we produce players in Ghana using our Sports? A mention of Lebron James and Stephen Curry may sound egoistic or over hyping them literally, just our very own; Asamoah Gyan, Dede Ayew, Christian Astu, Kojo Asamoah among others are also making tremendous in pact in the society. “What do they do? Sports !” “Are they not employed?”

“If nothing at all, their immediate family will have some level of income or some comfort !”

Just one player, one discipline or event, “guess what!” 30 teams in the NBA, just do the math: if you have an average player taking $15million as salary, with not less than 20 player and officials in a team as side the TV rights to the Associations or events, kits sponsors, revenue from commercials, income from stadium attendance, among others. “Absolutely Fantastic Opportunity - AFO! “

Employment

Unemployment admittedly is a major challenge to most governments even with the developed economies.

Ghana battles with teeming graduates each year who after National Service must cast their hopes in search for jobs which are readily unavailable. “hmmm!”

“Can we start investing in the teeming youth with skill set, at least in the area of sports? while others presumably take roles as coaches, managers, psychologists, athletes, sports journalists, among others. Ghana has talented individuals in the area of sports, with the little encouragement, enabling environment, and education, the country will ease the unemployment situation in Ghana?

NABCO alone cannot solve the unemployment challenges we face as a country, the best this initiative can do is micromanage the few individuals ready to earn a living. “the system hard rough!”, a usual term among some of the youth today. What is our long-term goals as a country to mitigate this challenges? “Sports can be our option!.”

A lot of literary works, research just to mention but a few had been written extensively on ways government can solve the unemployment situation in the country or possibly reduce unemployment and what comes to mind is developing the skills of the citizenry. “I know many will criticize this piece and rationalize it but the fact still remains, can we use sports to enhance our economic freedom?”

Just recently the Haitian - Japanese born Naomi Osaka thrashed her idol Serena Williams to clinch the US Open Championship, a historic moment the world has ever witnessed. Guess what, she is 20years. Now, not only does she have voice to advocate for young girls to dream beyond their dreams but led by an example. Is she not employed? Just passing by famous “Atemuda joint” in East Legon, Madina along the roadside and other areas, younger ladies even younger than Naomi lined up waiting for the available vehicle to pick them up for the night “prostitution!”. What if we give them an alternative, an opportunity even as cheerleaders, take active part in sports, earn a living out of it? “Take them back to school! “. Perhaps they may not be able to play as outstanding as Naomi, but that can take some of them off the streets and sports has the power to transform their lives.

The Asamoah Gyan ’s, Micheal Essien, Tony Baffoe, Christian Astu among others lives have changed drastically through sports. Can we invest in the younger generation too at least to double or triple the number of these stars in our communities? As role model, a lot

Mr. President, they started somewhere, developed their talents others were innocent kids from the streets, had good education, among others and shot to limelight through hard work and perseverance. Now, most of them are embarking on charitable works.

For instance, LeBron James makes $30milion, the highest paid NBA player. He does charitable works. He has built fully furnish school, employed teachers to build the capacity of this kids.

Right here in Ghana, Asamoah Gyan funded a project for Accra Academy (AstroTurf), His alma mater. He has a few projects supporting support economic activities of this country. Can we imagine the likes of Asamoah Gyan, supporting developmental projects in our communities? Massive!

Assuming we have just 2 of such Stars in our communities, giving back to society at least taking one project at a time, roads, school, hospitals, clean drinkable water among others. “Won’t these ease the pressure on government?” This will, as a result, ease the pressure on government to provide social amenities.

There may be no double tracking system and free education can be made relevant in tandem with infrastructure development.

Columnist: Emmanuel Hanson