GHANA’s over-all performance at the just-ended All Africa Games could be considered mediocre – and that should have been the crying subject for discussion now.
Winning just two gold and other medals to sum up to 19, cannot be heartening in view of the colossal amount of the tax payer’s money expanded on the quadrennial Games.
Available record this writer chanced upon suggested that the contingent spent something in the region of GH¢16 million and that is massive enough to churn out a googol of medals in the 16 disciplines that represented the country. There may have been issues that border on comprehensive preparations.
That notwithstanding, it was still a big shock to see the national weightlifting team exit the Games without a single medal. Considering the fact that the lift-and-jerk sport had in previous Games haul home a decent number of medals, the fiasco this time is as disconcerting as mysterious.
More worrying, too, is the alacrity with which many are advocating for the Black Queens – the women’s team that won gold at the Games – to be given more than the $2,000 each they pocketed for their efforts.
Yes, they did tremendously well by putting up the stellar performance that bust the bubble of Cameroon on their way to winning the ultimate. But that was the prize money agreed on before the contingent even left the shores of Ghana.
Indeed, the other gold winners – the tennis team, also walked away with the same amount of money as their reward, and the Queens could not have asked for more than what they got from the Games.
Having said that, though, there is no scintilla of doubt about the fact that the golden Queens have been short-changed over the years, leaving in its trail unpaid allowances piling up to the tune of $23,000 each. Truth be told, we have been exceedingly unfair to the girls – looking at the dispatch with which the government and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) handle allowances of their men counterparts, Black Stars.
It is a crying shame that we have to allow the victorious Queens to ‘pitch camp’ at the M-Plaza hotel base after the Games to demand their unpaid allowances. The situation has painted us in a negative light internationally as a country – and the embarrassment could have been averted.
Indeed, the least we can do to egg on female participation in football is treat the girls with respect and dignity. Let us not forget that at a time when the Black Stars were desperately struggling to make it to their first ever FIFA World Cup in Germany 2006, it took the gallantry of the Queens to break that stygian jinx at the senior level as far back as US’99.
There is a mammoth reason why FIFA has over the last few years hammered on the need for a deeper participation of women in football.
At a two-day meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, this week, the FIFA Executive Committee deliberated on a number of forward-looking measures to improve governance as part of the reform process and to promote greater participation of women in football.
The executive also supported the call made by the FIFA Task Force for Women’s Football for greater inclusion and participation of women in football, which will be referred to the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee for consideration in the development of the final reform proposals. The committee also agreed to the amended regulations to ensure more female members of team delegations at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2016 in Papua New Guinea.
So, question is: Any reason why we would want to push our women down? Have we not cheated them for far too long? Come on, let us encourage and give them what they are due.