Fentuo: The wickedness of our Sports Ministry

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Drama unfolded in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Tuesday night as Cameroon and Gambia played out an enthralling game in their final group game.

Not only did Christopher Wooh’s 91st-minute goal take the Indomitable Lions to the next stage of the competition, but it also confirmed Ghana’s exit from the competition.

The Black Stars finished third in Group B after only taking two points from a possible nine available. Missing out on a place in the next round of the competition was not the only thing the players failed to achieve. They also missed out on a whopping $30,000.

So – if somehow we had miraculously managed to qualify to the Round of 16 of the 2023 AFCON with this shocking performance, each player would have been happy taking over $30,000 of our taxes and technical team members, over $60,000 for this embarrassing output?

This is why I have no sympathy for anything anyone says to this lot.

Africa Games is in 40 days. Ghana is hosting. Ghanaian athletes only moved to Cape Coast for camping last weekend. Boxers, track and field athletes, badminton players. They have been shoved into tiny cubicles with 3 in a room. The Ghana Olympics Committee (GOC) says it’s looking for $50,000 to help its members prepare for the Games. The ministry says it has no money for them.

The same Ministry has set a target for them to finish in the top 5 of the medal table. To do that, the country needs to win at least 100 medals. In the last Africa Games in Morocco, Ghana only won 13. They haven’t put a plan in place to cover the 87-medal difference, but they have set that target for the athletes.

The Olympic Games is in six months and as we speak, no single Ghanaian boxer has qualified for the Games. They have a qualifying event in Italy next month. The Ghana Boxing Federation needs economy-class tickets for its boxers to go and compete for a qualifying slot. The ministry has still not purchased those tickets, which would cost less than $20,000 for the 10 or so boxers.

But this ministry blew $600,000 to bus fans to go and watch their favourite Black Stars, and paid $400 as per diems to the over 200 fans they took.

Phot Credit: Pooja Media

They still owe the Black Princesses per diems for two-and-half weeks (not bonuses) for winning the WAFU B Girls’ competition which was played in June 2023.

They owe the Black Queens winning bonuses for three rounds of qualifying matches ($2500 per player per round). And yes, they don’t pay the women bonuses for winning a game, they pay them bonuses for winning a tie (home and away) and it’s $2500 for the two.

They qualified for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) and are two ties away from booking an Olympic ticket.

They owe the Black Princesses (again) bonuses for three rounds of qualifiers. Those rounds led them to securing qualification to a seventh consecutive U-20 Women’s World Cup.

The Youth Resource Centers are rotting away because the National Youth Authority (NYA) (under the Sports Ministry) say they don’t have money to complete them.

The National Sports Authority (under the Sports Ministry) closed down the stadiums in December for concerts, ostensibly to raise monies to maintain same. Because the ministry says it has no money to help maintain the facilities.

Yet, they always have money when it comes to the Black Stars.

It is clear then, that money isn’t actually the issue.

The issue here is greed, selfishness, corruption and a general lack of foresight. Tell me how this makes sense.

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