By:Michael kessey (Akissiway)
?Catch them young? is a sweet song sang all the time by our Education Ministry and Sports ministry on any platform or Sports programs they attend and you wonder how they want to catch these youth young when majority of our School Parks and recreational grounds have been sold to some wealthy persons to build stores. Let?s go to the Basic Schools and look at the time table brought by the Ghana Education Service and see if Physical Education has a place on it. If you see Physical Education on it then it means the classroom teacher is the one who had adjusted the time table to accommodate it.
Some Head teachersof Basic Schools for one or two reasons best known to them have the perception that Games and Sports are meant for dull people even though they always say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy that is why some of them will lose their temper all because the School Sports Secretary has taken the School team to go and train on the Pitch. Every individual has his / her hidden potential that needs to be developed for him/her to become a useful member in the Ghanaian society and as such it is imperative for our leadership to do all it can to put in phlegmatic? measures that would help develop the nations sports from collapsing or die a premature death. We have heard on so many occasions that the youth is the future leaders of Mother Ghana and yet there is relatively nothing good to write home about good measures that would help develop the potential in our youth at the basic level.
We have had great Sportsmen and women who had attained greatest height in the academic field to the level of becoming Teachers, Doctors, Professors and Lawyers not forgetting our recognized Politicians such as Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, Hon. Abuga Pele and the Late Professor Fiifi Atta Mills of blessed memory, Professor Francis Duodu and many others. I can confidently dispute that bogus perception some ignorant Sports leaders to the fact that, I myself was an efficient Sportsman in the field of athletics and football. No wonder throughout my School days from the Basic level to the tertiary level I have been successful not only developing national team Stars such as Awal Mohammed Muah, Kwabena Adusei Azaro and many others. It is pathetic that our Sports leaders and educationist have deliberately decided to let the potential of our talented youths go waste. There is an Akan saying that goes like ?Sankofa yen kyiri?.Ghana could boast of great Sportsmen and women such as Gladys Anum, The LateRosehart, Diana Yanki, Margaret Simpson, Mercy Addey,HelinaAmoako, Martha Adusei, Vida Nsiah, Vida Anim,OheneKarikari, Andrew Owusu,AlhajiAlhassan, Emmanuel Tuffour, Leo Myles Mills, ?Professor Francis Duodu, ThimothyHesse, KenedyOsei,Eric Nkansah,Abrefa, Felix Andam, Aziz? Zakari.AlbertAgyemang, AbediAyew Pele, OdarteyLamptey, Anthony OseiKwadwo, Frank Ofori, Mohammed Odom and many others.
How on earth will our Sports develop when the Ministry of Education and Sports Ministry have stop assigning ?P.E Detached Teachers to the Basic Schools and expect Ghana to produce good and quality Sportsmen and women to compete at the highest level and win medals for Mother Ghana. You cannot give what you don?t have and as such it is about time we go back to the old system by restoring the P.E Detached systemGhana benefited a lot from it. Ghana at the Juvenile level in terms of Soccer became a force to reckon with not because we had magicians training our youth for us. We were once U-17 World Cup Champions all because we had P.E Detached teachers with the technical know-how going round catching these youth young and developing their God?s gift potential at the Basic level. Ghana is now struggling to qualify to the U-17 World Cup all because at the grassroots level things are done not according to plan. In Germany for instance Sports development starts from age 5 that is at the Kindergarten level.
The 5year development plan by Mr. Ben Coffie is laudable but my worry is using the scale to weigh players at the basic level to determine their ages in competitions is not good for us because some Sports Secretaries of our basic Schools have been giving medicines to their School Competitors just for them to lose weight to fit into the required weight just to enable them partake in Basic Schools Inter- Schools Competition. Even though we had won gold medal at the U-17 level before and today Ghana is suffering from this development plan with the use of scale to weigh our youth in Competitions to determine their right age. If I may ask Ghanaians, what profit did we getafter beating Cameroun?s U-17 national team hands down and we were banned for fielding an over aged player who fell within the required weight but the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine detected him not qualified?
My passionate appeal to our Sports leaders is that they should adopt a new system that will be used to determine the ages of our youth at the juvenile levels starting from the Basic level?s admission. Heads of Basic Schools should be tasked to give admissions to children whose parents have with them their wards birth certificates or weighing cards. Every player selected to our U-17 team our Sports leaders managing them should go to their various Basic Schools and check their correct ?date of birth on admission to be hundred percent sure before they go and waste the tax-payers money on these players.
Godin his own wisdom has blessed mother Ghana with a lot of talented Sportsmen and women to earn a living through their potential and it is imperative for people in authority not to look indifferent about the welfare of our youth now that the nation finds itself in an unfavorable conditions. In a nation where government is facing problems in creating jobs for the future generation it is inapplicable for our leaders to sit down unconcern for the potentials in our younger generation to go waste.
Female Soccer should start from the Primary level and not the Junior High School level because as a baby is born he/she has to crawl on the ground before he/she could stand on his/her feet and then he/she walks finally so shall it be when it comes to female soccer. our leaders must take it upon themselves to invest more money into other disciplines so that the enthusiasm will be high and people who cannot play football will also be satisfied in their area of discipline all because they are earning their living there too. If people whose responsibility is to put in policies that would help develop the potential of our youth when moving around town in their V8 and other flashy cars sees our young girls standing ?along the road practicing prostitution and our young boys selling dog chains ?how do they feel?
Our leaders are where they are now because those leaders in their time had at the back of their minds the future of this country depends on the youth and as such put in policies that would help the youth of this country in their era to earn a living from their God?s gift potentials. Grassroots youth training is the only way to save our Sports from sinking. As the saying goes ?Nothing good comes easy? and as such it imperative for our Sports Ministry and Ghana Education to try and get the needed Sports equipment available to enhance the training of our youth at the grassroots level because practice makes man perfect and you don?t expect these youth to use stick as javelin or stones as shot put. Children can learn faster and better if they can see, feel and touch something.
Let?s get these youths exposed at the early stages to these Sports equipment at the Basic level and stop the improvisation method.? Sport is now business and has to be taking serious by our leaders and not to be treated like a beauty contest. Let?s see the kind of dollars that comes to the Country just because we have qualified to partake in WORLD CUP organized by FIFA and our leaders get their? fair share and have they taking their time to utilize the money in raising? the next generation of Stars who will always qualify to the World Cup. Mother Ghana needs the youths to be useful members of the Ghanaian society.