Making up the numbers

Making up the numbers

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IT is about three weeks to the ultimatum day, of May 15, 2015, given by 20 national sports associations to the Sports Ministry.

According to them if by that date the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) does not release funds to enable them prepare for the 11th All Africa Games (AAG) in Congo Brazzaville, they would advise themselves.

The obvious question that readily comes up is, what sort of advice they would give themselves?

A pertinent question though that also comes up is, why has the MoYS failed to with give funds to the associations for the AAG’s preparations?

The most apparent answer is the general economic malaise that has gripped the country and prevented the government from honouring most of its statutory obligations.

Bluntly put, there is no money to give the associations as confirmed by Mr. Asamoah.

He was reported to have said that, “for now the Ministry of Youth and Sports is cash-strapped and we want to appeal to the Association Presidents to pre-finance their budget so that government will take care of it in the near future”.

“We are all aware of the problems confronting this country, it is sad that we cannot help for now, maybe some months ahead but as at now the ministry is not in that financial position to help”, he had explained.

Of course, the associations disagree, citing the male and female national football teams whose training and travels are supposed to be funded by government.

But what should be more irksome to them is the knowledge that President Mahama was mindful of their plight, hence had in his 2015 ‘State of the Nation’ address stated, among others, that “government will this year put a desirable focus on other sporting disciplines other than football…”

But according to them, for the past three years they have had to watch with envy as football received its share of budgetary allocations and only to be told to seek money from corporate sources to fund their programmes.

With barely five months to the Games and nothing forthcoming, it becomes obvious that the MoYS appears helpless in the face of the plight of these associations.

That is why one has to re-examine the threat of how the associations would advise themselves which obviously could come in so many ways.

For instance, some have wondered even what they would do should the funds come late?

Go to the games and make up the numbers to the government’s embarrassment or attempt to pre-finance as suggested by the Deputy Sports Minister?

Invariably, the cry of the associations is an indictment on the MoYS for allowing the associations to raise a red flag.

Decades ago, it was these lesser- fancied sports, athletics and boxing that filled the Accra Sports Stadium – remember the D.K. ‘Poison’- Danny ‘Little Red’ Lopez world title fight in 1977? .

Some have argued that with more resources now, the MoYS cannot hide behind the ‘no cash’ chorus to deny these associations the opportunity of just wanting to raise Ghana’s flag high.

As for the suggestion of pre-financing, one has to wonder how many presidents of these associations can have the network to generate funds within the limited time available.

Till their deadline arrive though, stakeholders will be looking at the government with askance and wonder whether it could be relied on to keep its word.

Perhaps Youth and Sports Minister, Dr Mustapha Ahmed can can throw more light on this issue.

Christian Abbew




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