Opinion: How politics is destroying Sports in Ghana
Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah after assuming office in his own wisdom saw the need to use sports as a developmental tool. Dr. Nkrumah might have encountered his own challenges when it comes to politics in sports.
But obviously from what history tells us, he was very good at dealing with those problems he faced in terms of sports development. I decided to use our first president as a case study because clearly we seems to have done a lot in sports both on and off the pitch as a nation during his tenure as president.
Several governments have come and exited but in recent years, sports development in the country has seen a major setback with those in charge mixing politics with sports. I can give several instances which will consume my time but just to mention a few.
Football for instance have had it share of what seems to be politics in sports. I quiet remember when deputy sports minister Joseph Yamin emphatically stated that its now 2-1 in favor of the then NDC in power after Ghana made her third successive World cup appearance in 2014 in Brazil. One can easily tag the players as not being patriotic but I can confidently say that all the problems we encountered at the competition must be put at the doorstep of our own politicians who played their usual gimmicks with our football.
Should we call it a blessing in disguise after Ghana’s 2018 World Cup campaign took a massive nosedive after we stumbled in Kumasi against the Red Devils of Congo?
Politics once again found its ugly head into our football because the national youth organizer of the ruling NPP Sammy Awuku is on record to have stated that his government will only take NPP supporters and sympathizers to the 2018 World cup in Russia should Ghana qualify for the showpiece
My question is, do we really learn from our past mistakes? Because if we do, I don’t think such comments should have even been made in the first place or even if it’s in retaliation to what the previous government did.
In all these, it’s the youth who are into sports that I weep for .If you put all your time, resources and energy into something and at the end of the day, you fail to achieve your target, it is very disturbing and pathetic.
As the saying goes “If two elephants fight, it’s certainly the grass that suffers “
This canker has now gotten out of hand where the various sporting disciplines have also had their fair share of politics in sports.
The government recently reintroduced the national unity games which is now known as the national sports festival in Kumasi. I must commend government for bringing it back and though there were several problems, I believe there is more room for improvement.
But there is one thing I cannot for go by not addressing it. Prior to the event I got the sense that the event deals with regional association or federations. So when I heard there were issues with Taekwondo just because the national president ordered that the greater Accra taekwondo association will not part take in the event. I did my checks and later got to know that the sports minister Isaac Asiamah had settled the issue for the greater Accra wing to present four athletes and the national will also present four athletes but that was not to be.
For me in all these I learnt the national president Fredrick Otu Lartey and Norbert Amefu the greater Accra chairman had issues. The current NSA boss was accused by one faction for disobeying the sports minister’s orders and in the long run some athletes who have trained several months for the event were denied participation. For the president of the greater Accra Taekwondo federation, Norbert Amefu it seems gradually politics is creeping itself into the so called lesser known sports in recent years.
“All these years I knew politics used to exist in only football but now it’s very disturbing when you see some politics being done with our less financed sports”
Once again politics in sports have deprived these young budding talents from showcasing what they have through no fault of theirs. It’s been happening in other sporting disciplines but it is about time we put a halt to some of these things which I believe if it’s done, Ghana sports will get back to its feet.
Officialdom should put their selfish interest aside and begin to look at the bigger picture where the youth of this country who are involved in sports are giving proper attention devoid of politics being meddled with sports.
It is not about belonging to this political party or that political party, it’s about time our so called leaders see sports as a tool for massive development and our dear nation Ghana will once again become great.
God bless my homeland Ghana
Long live my mother land Ghana
Author: Michael Nsiah Otchere