SWAG, save our sports from collapse!

I believe it is time big name players extended their impact to the big stage to salvage the imminent collapse of our sports generally, and football in particular.

The clutches of doom are threatening our passion! All over the place everybody is talking about and crying over what looks like a sword of Damocles working against what we all enjoy everywhere in this country.

At prayer camps the focus is on the decline of the nation “Ghana”. And surprisingly, certain notable bodies that can wake up from their slumber and shake the nation like tornado are chickening out and hiding their faces as if nothing is happening.

It is in sports that this nation finds her unity, and when all goes haywire, we depend on the games for our happiness.

The stories our children hear on radio and television about the poor handling of cases before our FA Disciplinary Committees and Ethics Committee, the poor handling of reports of various committees of inquiry on sports, the decline of our sporting standards that the various associations under the auspices of the National Sports Authority (NSA) are facing and the general complaints levelled at the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) don’t give our land a good compliment from outside.

We are living in an era that requires nothing but taking the bull by the horns without fear or favour. And that is the pivotal role our strong and independent Sportswriters Association of Ghana (SWAG), its leadership and patrons are expected to play by waking up and making their impact felt.

Elsewhere in the world, the Sportswriters Association stands firm and faces the bullets by taking the oversight responsibility in watching out the progress of the various disciplines and the efforts of individual talents, making sure to find out what is causing their decline and make firm suggestions and boldly issue recommendations.

Indeed, they act as independent boards that look into the activities of various associations and not only select the best and award those who deserve it but also make sure to encourage the young talents to rise to their highest levels.

Over the years, SWAG presidents, executives and on the advice of their patrons make sure they go close and deep to watch what is happening in the various disciplines; from hockey to volleyball to polo and football in particular, which the nation very much loves.

Unfortunately, the boat is rowing in a different direction, and we are entering an era quite different from what obtained in the past, and that is when the current SWAG, under the presidency of Kwabena Yeboah, is expected to work even harder to spell out ‘dito-dito’ where the problems are and make the necessary recommendations, no matter how hard it would affect the people at the helm of affairs.

It will be recalled that during the era of Oheneba Charles as the president of the association, SWAG made a big impact that attracted a huge sponsorship from Kumasi Brewery, who extended its sponsorship for years just as the Barclays Bank is doing for the English Premier League (EPL), while other bodies waited on the fringes to be slotted in to play the role of SWAG honourable sponsors.

SWAG was highly appreciated and, for that matter, all bodies in the land followed its activities as it cracked the whip at the right time and in the right places.

I just can’t imagine that as at now when the nation cannot boast of a single world boxing champion, while in other fields what we hear are men and women winning silver medals and making no impact at international levels. But we seem to be content with it and even call them heroes.

The other day the Ghana Wrestling Association managed to sponsor only one member from its lot, in the person of John Dekagbe to the second African Wrestling championship held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and he managed to come back home with a silver medal in the lightweight category.

His last opponent in the tournament was a Nigerian, and the gold medal went to him and Nigeria, our neighbours, who sponsored many men and women in the various categories and came out with huge successes in gold medal victories.

I have a strong belief that at the next SWAG Awards Night, John Dekagbe will come out as an awardee for his effort, something which might not receive any notice if he were to be a Nigerian.

In other words, the SWAG is inevitably forced to celebrate mediocrity with the expectation that such awardees would not relax but might work harder to achieve better results in future.

Of course, in times like these, we must take note that other countries are watching us, as well as assessing the activities of SWAG as our sports face consistent decline.

The SWAG president knows the pathetic and shambolic standards of our sports, and has accepted the reign of leadership of a body that has a lot on hand to work on.

In an interview on Asempa FM last week, he commented bitterly on how things were going on the sporting front, saying that the attempt to synchronise the Ghana Premier League with the European calendar was untimely, looking at our system where football cases could be carried to court for adjudication and the tendency of placing injunctions on our league at will.

That is against the wisdom of FIFA, which insists in its statutes that as football is time-bound, it is unwise to mix it with the judiciary, which goes to any length to investigate matters that require simple understanding.

Indeed, that plan to rub shoulders with the European calendar was self-deceptive, to say the least, and there was a lot to learn from developed nations before moving into that.

It will require a powerful force to convince our football fraternity to know their limitations that will help make life comfortable for all concerned — the GFA and its affiliate bodies, club owners, the fans who watch the matches and the rest, as well as other federations that are crying for stability at a time that the sports budget has been slashed by half.

In this respect, it is up to SWAG to play a pivotal role on the advice of its patrons. The opposition will be hard to challenge, but with sleepless of work and prayers, I know the problems will be solved. God bless!
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