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South Tongu MP calls for critical look at sports development

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By Iddi Yire, GNA


Accra, Jan. 27, GNA – Mr Kobena Mensah Woyome, the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Tongu, has called for a critical look at national sports development to enable Ghana assume her proper place in the global sports arena. 

He made the appeal on the floor of Parliament in a statement on the poor performance of the Senior National Team, the Black Stars at the ongoing 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon, where Ghana failed to qualify for the knockout stage. 

“Mr Speaker, for us to see a positive turn around in Ghana’s football and giving the central role of sports in national development, and in fostering national unity, there is the need for the Government to as a matter of urgency initiate a process for a wholistic sports development agenda; that adopts short to long term approach to sports development to restore sports and Ghana Football in particular from the grassroot to the top.”

Mr Woyome said the early exit of the Black Stars from the 2021 African Cup of Nations could be attributed to poor management, poor coach selection, poor player selection and poor pre-tournament preparations.

He said the poor performance of the players on the field of play such as poor player coordination, infighting, poor technical sufficiency and confusion, could only be attributed to poor management decisions by the leadership and the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

“Mr Speaker I want to believe that useful lessons have been learnt on the part of the GFA and therefore, must not repeat itself,” he said.

Mr Woyome noted that Ghana had made significant strides and also suffered its low limits in international football tournaments in the past but none could be compared to the humiliating performance of the Black Stars as witnessed at the AFCON 2021.

“Mr Speaker, another look at the history of Ghana’s performance (in football) shows that Ghana has won on four occasions the AFCON; thus 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982.”

He said Ghana had actually been five times runner up in 1968, 1970, 1992, 2010, and 2015.

“Therefore, we would have learnt some important lessons in order to make a mark at least if not winning the tournament,” he said.

“Mr Speaker, it is not only in football that Ghana is not doing well. In recent times, Ghana’s performance and fortunes in various sports competitions keeps dwindling; such as in the crush out of our clubs at the early stages of the Confederation of African Football; thus competitions, and that of the Women National Team at group stages and the inability of the under 17 Team to qualify for major tournaments.”

He said the Olympic Team, men and women, had not qualified for almost 18 years; adding that the mass movement of players from the local league due to poor remuneration and conditions of service might contribute to this.

He also mentioned the lack of proper sports development and inadequate investment in domestic football as some of the factors affecting the sporting industry in the country.

He said one could wonder why the Black Stars had to camp in Qatar, when they did not have the full complement of the Team.

“Why do we have to appoint a second assistant coach a few days before the commencement of the tournament? What were the criteria in selecting players for the national Team?” He quizzed.

“Mr Speaker, we also want to know the total amount spent on the Team for their painful exit.”

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader, who commended Mr Woyome for his statement, also called for the revamping of the Senior National Team.

Mr Benson Tongo Baba, MP for Talensi, on his part, called for an inquiry into the poor performance of the Black Stars at the 2021 AFCON competition.

Madam Freda Akosua Oheneafrewo Prempeh, MP for Tano North, said Ghanaians had to put in more effort in building the Senior National Team.


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