2017 In Retrospect
Isaac Asiamah, Sports Minister
Members of the sporting fraternity, particularly, lovers of football have described sports in 2017 as a failure.
Their reason, was due to the fact that their ‘pampered child’- football failed to make a four streak World Cup appearance.
Most Ghanaians have equated this year’s World Cup failure to skipping a day’s meal.
Indeed, the three consecutive appearances in Germany, South Africa and Brazil made some Ghanaians believe that qualification was a birthright until the reality dawned.
Egypt began on a right footing- winning its first two games, while Ghana drew 0-0 before home fans in Tamale. The four-time African champions trailed thereafter till a game before the last qualifiers.
Again, the Black Stars team B broke the hearts of many when they missed the Champion of African Nations (CHAN) bus.
The Maxwell Konadu’s men recorded a 2-2 results in the first leg; raising the hopes of Ghanaians high, only to succumb to a more determined Burkinabe counterparts in the return encounter.
Notwithstanding the blushes, the same side rose to the occasion when Ghana hosted the rest of the sub-region in a WAFU championship.
The team’s effort, coupled with fantastic spectatorship made the competition a memorable one, which in the end placed Cape Coast fans among spectators elites.
The national U-17 male soccer side, the Black Starlets after a long absence at the World stage failed to lift the national flag high in India.
The Paa Kwesi Fabin boys succumbed to their Malian counterparts, a side they played second fiddle to at the African Championship in a soggy game in the quarter final.
It was a three-horse race involving Aduana Stars, WAFA and Accra Heats of Oak, until the Dormaa-based side shrugged of the stiff opposition to win the ultimate for the second time with 57 points.
WAFA, who caved in along the line due to player exodus followed with 51 points, with Hearts placing third with 48 points.
FA/ Prez. Ghana @ 60 Cups
Two of the country’s celebrated sides- Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko after a long journey in the FA Cup engagements met in the final to sell a thriller.
Kotoko, in the end lifted the silverware; courtesy striker Sadick Adams’ first half hat-trick which was reduced by a header through skipper Thomas Abbey after the break.
The Porcupine Warriors again subdued their perennial rivals in the President’s Cup but Hearts rose to the occasion to snatch the Ghana @ 60 Years on trophy to end the year. It was the only silverware the Phobians added to their trophy cabinet in the year under review.
Ghana To Host 2023 All African Games ?
Celebrated legal practitioner, Moses Foh Amoaning has stated clearly that hosting the rest of the continent in the 2023 All African Games would be the greatest sporting legacy for the president Akufo-Addo led administration.
To him, hosting the biggest African sporting event would be a feather in the ruling party’s cup considering the fact that Ghana ranks among the continent’s sports power houses, yet she has failed to host the event.
“Sports is one of the greatest tools to unite and fight for a common goal. Ghana as a beacon of sports has never hosted the prestigious competition, not even in the era of Dr Nkrumah, our first president. “I sincerely believe should Ghana host the 13th edition, it will be a plus for the current administration, its benefits to us as a country cannot be quantified in monetary terms,” said Foh-Amoaning.
And responding to the benefits Ghana stands to gain, he mentioned that it will boost sporting infrastructure across the nation, equipment, promotion of all sporting disciplines, investment in the youth, sponsorship, arrival of expatriates etc, hence the need to embrace the opportunity.
Last November, a Technical Committee of African Games were scheduled to undertake an evaluation mission to Ghana to access the country’s preparedness, but it was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.
Indications are that a Cabinet Memo to that effect is not ready hence the delay in pushing the agenda which when fulfilled is expected to have a positive bearing on the country’s sports.
Golf in the year under review fared extremely, taking into account the rampancy of keenly-contested competitions at the various golf Clubs.
Despite the Ghana Open ‘No Show’, the biggest in the country’s golf calendar, most of the Clubs put together close to ten Monthly Medal competitions and several Open championships.
The Head of State golf competition which sought to raise money from the corporate world was another high point on the golf calendar.
UMB crowned the year with an exciting Accra Open tournament at the Achimota Golf Club which attracted hundreds of golfers across the nation.
So was the Six second cycle institutions Inter Schools End of Year Golf Competition at the Achimota Golf Club.
-Achimota, Adisadel College, Accra Academy, Presec (Legon), Mfantsipim and Opoku Ware battled for supremacy, which saw Mfanstipim emerging tops.
The McDan West African Open Tennis championship, no doubt was the biggest thing that happened to the sport.
The week-long tennis fiesta lived to its billing with players from across the sub-region participating.
Players who excelled packed home hard currencies as well as received scholarship packages from McDan Group chairman Dr Daniel McKorley.
The McDan Group continued its support for the sport by donating a brand new Mercedes Benz Sprinter to the Ghana Tennis Federation.
New kid on the block, Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe demonstrated sheer brilliance in all his encounters in 2017. In like manner, Duke Micah, Richard ‘Azonto’ Commey and Fredrick ‘Okunka’ Lawson prevailed in their respective engagements to end the year on a good note.
Most definitely, the Bukom Banku-Samir Bastie clash was the pick of the pack taking into account that it was the very first time the braggart, Banku tasted defeat.
The Charles Osei Asibey led Armwrestling has been around not too long, yet they proved to the continent that, given the needed push, they will go places.
They returned from their first major competition (African Armwrestling competition) in Nigeria with 22 medals; a feat which has earned the Federation and its hardworking president, a SWAG Awards nomination.
The Ghana Taekwondo Federation (GTF) made history by organising the first ever World Taekwondo sanctioned Open International Taekwondo Championships in sub-Saharan Africa dubbed 1st Ghana Open Taekwondo International Championship. It was a World Taekwondo G1 ranking tournament. Ghana won 6 medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze.
The GTF in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea hosted the K-Tigers from South Korea at the Accra International Conference Centre to promote Taekwondo in Ghana on November 14.
The GTF organised the 9th Korea Cup Taekwondo championships in December. The GTF in collaboration with the embassy of the Republic of Korea organised the 3rd edition of the ‘I love Taekwondo’ video contest at the Korean Sports Complex in Tema on December 16.
As a result of the above, President of the Ghana Taekwondo Federation, Frederick Lartey Out, was promoted to 1st class International Taekwondo Referee by the World Taekwondo in January, among other promotions.
Hockey, at the club level did the nation proud in Egypt, where Trustees of SSNIT, GRA and Police produced respectable results and returned home with medals.
By Kofi Owusu Aduonum