President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama will tomorrow the 25th of February 2016 in Parliament house give the 2016 State of the Nations Address.
Last year, the president mentioned four thematic areas his government would be tackling including attention for lesser known sports, an appeal to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) in focusing on other national teams aside the Blackstars, the promotion of the local league and the development of sports infrastructure.
Below are the exact words of the President at the event on Sports:
“Government will this year, put a desirable focus on other sporting disciplines other than football, in order to contribute to their growth and the winning of more international medals and competitions.
In athletics for example, consistent planning and the personal motivation of our young athletes earned Ghana our first Olympic Gold Medal in any sport, at any level. 17-year old Martha Bissah from Kumasi who was among 12 other athletes, who won medals at the African Championships in Morocco, went on to the Youth Olympic in China and snatched the gold medal. Young Martha and her family were filled with joy and energy when I hosted them at the Flagstaff House last year.
I agree with managers of our lesser – known sports that we can win more international medals. Accordingly, Martha will be afforded an opportunity to join other young athletes on scholarship in US Colleges where she can develop into senior level athletics. Government will also partner with corporate Ghana to support the programmes of the various sporting associations this year including the Swimming Association, which is producing very brilliant and fast swimmers winning medals in international competitions.
I wish to once again congratulate the senior national team, the Black Stars for their performance at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Tournament. Many Ghanaians lost hope in the Black Stars ahead of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea. They gathered themselves together, rose from the ashes of Brazil 2014 and proved themselves. It is not the first silver medal for the Black Stars, but the developments from Brazil is what changed the dynamics.
Let me urge the Ghana Football Association to put a lot more focus on the other national teams just like it does for the senior team, in order to adequately prepare them for their international competitions as well.
Also, the seeming total neglect of the local football league is a matter of concern to all. I wish to urge the FA to turn its attention to improving the quality of the local league and work towards making it attractive, exciting and worth following.
On the development of sporting infrastructure, work is progressing speedily on the Cape Coast Stadium and is expected to be completed this year.
The attention to the lesser known sports has undoubtedly seen no improvement as we have seen the various sporting federations complain of funding in their bid to qualify for Rio 2016.
As to whether the GFA has paid heed to focusing on other national teams aside the Blackstars, it’s yet to be visible especially with regards to the women national teams.
The promotion of the local league is a whole problem to be dealt with as the 2015/16 started about five months after the last season and to top that up, commenced without a headline sponsor.
On the development of sporting infrastructure, the Cape Coast Stadium which was specifically mentioned is nearing completion.
The 2016 State of the Nations Address is coming up on Thursday and stakeholders in the sporting fraternity await what the President will be saying in that field.
- Afia Acheampong