As the world seeks to find a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic, cases in Ghana keep escalating in numbers.
The economic world is facing a shock such that it will take days, months and years for some countries to revive their economies and Ghana is no exception.
There is definitely life after COVID-19 and an area that a country can look out for after the pandemic is to concentrate on the importance of sports.
The relevance of sports in Ghana to an extent has not been given the necessary attention in diversifying the economy.
Integration of sports into the mainstream national development agenda will be an essential and the first step to developing the sports industry, enabling it to serve as a catalyst for increased productivity and performance to improve the living standards of Ghanaians.
Taking advantage of this area can play a critical role in the diversification of the economy.
Past and current government seem not to sufficiently appreciate the importance of the discipline as little or no attention is given to it.
In an era of fascinating vocabularies like lockdown, quarantine, etc, it is an opportunity for Ghana to effect changes and give some sort of attention to an area where talents abound.
Ghana has over 57 percent of her total population being youth and ranging between the ages of 0-25 which clearly depicts quite a huge number of youth who will be interested in engaging into one or two sporting activities.
Nelson Mandela once said sports can create hope where there was only despair. He further added that, it is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers and it also laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.
This indeed states categorically without doubt that, sports men and women can be an epitome of togetherness which will bring communities, nations and cultures in common understanding of principles of peace and fair play.
The discipline plays a critical role in achieving stability, peace and tranquility. Sports comes with some high-rated importance which cut across in all facets of our life.
This article points out some areas and how we can tap the resource for national development especially after this pandemic.
Neglect of certain sporting activities
Ghana’s sports fraternity is struggling to integrate some sporting activities into the ones we are clinged to already.
Football is now a passion and a narrow path for success but the question is can’t we give attention to other sports in the country?
Are the other sports not relevant enough?
Are the leaders shredding stuff in secrecy?
Are there no talents in other sporting disciplines? l ask..
Fascinatingly, we have branded names for these sporting disciplines, ‘lesser-known sports.’
There is an influx of talents in Taekwondo, Judo, Armwrestling, Handball, Hockey etc.
We could easily develop these sports for national assignment which in return will serve as a benefit for the country.
Azumah Nelson made name for himself through boxing, in Athletics, Margaret Simpson and Ignatius Gaisie represented the country in some competitions and won laurels for the nation but little did we know they were neglected in their line of duty.
Government can take a second look at discovering and developing talents from other sporting disciplines through investing in it and to secure a proper monitoring systems for these talents, a task for the National Sports Authority.
To the neglected sports, this is the time to prove their worth rather than just raising concerns of finances to media houses.
A coordinated measure and policy
Ghana needs to change her attitude to sports to ensure that we have a realistic and up-to-date policies that are geared towards achieving a lot in the world of sports.
Successive governments after Ghana’s independence have tabled some policies which are in line with developing sports for national development but it appears most of these policies are uncoordinated and fragmented.
In Ghana, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is underfunded and unable to support priority activities. According to Steiner (2008), the challenges of sports development is the fact that activities are limited which explains that sports related competitions are organised once a year.
In that regard, unearthing and nurturing talent in the country will be an arduous task for the country in developing these young ones to realise their full potentials.
The government should have coordinated and implemented policies in organising national sporting activities at least twice a year.
Building infrastructure and sporting facilities as well as supporting administrative capacity
Quite a number of our existing sporting facilities we have in Ghana are in poor conditions and they need heavy investment from the government and other corporate bodies to build and develop international standard level infrastructure.
Currently, there are a lot of efforts by the current government to upgrade existing facilities in some regions. It is a good move but are there plans to build playing grounds for other sporting activities which lack some of these facilities?
In our quest to achieve a strong economy, we can develop various sporting facilities to enhance the development of sports and strengthen sports tourism.
Through this, the country will surely recoup her funds as a result of the investment in the discipline. This also comes with international recognition, heightened sense of national pride that grows from it’s accomplishment and tourism as well.
This adds to our abundance of natural talents an attractive ambience for the business of sports as they enhance the growth of the economy.
In 2010, the New York City Marathon boosted the city’s economy to the tune of $340 million.
Also the Chicago clubs generate $600 million annually for the states of IIIinios. Ghana can take a clue from this after the fight against COVID-19.
Today’s sport emerges as an important component of socio-economic development of a country. In times like this, when the world is battling with a pandemic, Ghana can make a positive change after the war against this deadly disease.
Sporting activities have a wide range of benefits from improved personal health, job creation and income generation to the promotion of cultural values and national identity.
These potentials are yet to be fully realized across Ghana. Stronger partnerships need to be forged between sports associations and the private sector to promote sporting activities particularly sports infrastructure.
Written by: Paa Kweku Eshun | universnewsroom.com