WITH barely three weeks to the 11th All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville, there is every reason to believe that Ghana is keen on improving on her 2011 performance in Maputo, Mozambique.
In those Games, Ghana was represented by a contingent of 250 and returned with 19 medals – four gold, six silver and nine bronze – and placed 12th among the 51-countries that took part.
But for the shambolic preparations and organization that went into the 2011 games it would have been a worthy feat.
It led to a probe of a sort that culminated in the Maputo Report which indicted certain officials.
One of the highlights of that poor organization was the leaving of kits and behind while the team was in Maputo.
With the benefit of hind sight now, the National Sports Authority appears to be better prepared to avoid the hitches that bedeviled the 2011 games.
According to the Chef de Mission of Ghana’s contingent to the Brazzaville Games, Mr. Saka Acquaye approval has been given for the full amount needed for the preparations.
The question is, with two weeks to departure, when would this approval be converted into cash for use?
Would this guarantee an improved performance, knowing too well that the status quo is not the best for sports men and women preparing for international competitions?
There is also the spectre of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil scandal.
According to the President of the Weightlifting Association of Ghana, Mr. Ben Nunoo- Mensah, a committee set up to look for sponsorship for the All African Games is struggling to make headway because corporate Ghana is unwilling to associate with anything sports anymore.
He explained that a CEO of a company told the All African Games sponsorship committee that “my company sponsored supporters to Brazil and in the end we were hurled before a Commission of Inquiry as if we did something wrong, so we are not interested in supporting sports again.’
Mr Nunoo-Mensah was reported to have said that only three out of the over one hundred companies that the All African Games Sponsorship Committee has written to for assistance have responded.
He therefore called on corporate Ghana not to punish the other sporting disciplines for the sins of the Black Stars.
The point is, Black stars did prepare well all right but they overtaken by events they had not bargained for.
In other words, does the $4m earmarked for the three week games include payment bonuses for those who excel, per diem and at what stages they would be paid?
2014 Brazil is too fresh on our minds and it would be too deep a dent on our image if another drama unfolds in Brazzaville.
We should also be mindful of the hiccups at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland so as to spare the country another embarrassment.
There is also an issue that the NSA should not be unaware of – is the president of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) who incidentally doubles as the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) president under, at par or above the Chef-de- Mission?
This should be made clear by both the NSA and the Sports Ministry to officials in the contingent to avoid any unnecessary friction and embarrassment to Ghana in Brazzaville.
Beyond that, it is obvious that Ghana may be sending not less than 200 sports men, women and officials.
Managing such a large number may not be easy and a certain kind of code of conduct must be explained to the contingent before they depart from Ghana.
Beyond that, one can only pray and hope that Ghana would be spared any scandal.
TO THE POINT