SANKOFA: SPORTS AND ATHLETICS IN MODERN GHANA

Sports and athletics play a vital role in the formation of every civilization. From time immemorial people have participated in and encouraged sports and athletics. The history of sports and athletics extends back to the Ancient world. The physical activity that developed into sports and athletics had
early links with ritual, warfare and entertainment. It is evident from the vital role sports and athletics play in modern times that its usefulness cannot be underestimated nor overemphasized.

Azumah Nelson

In Ghana, the importance of sports and athletics in the lives of the citizens need not be overstated as one will find it in every aspect of the Ghanaian life. Sports and athletics are part of the development of most people in the country. Before secondary school education, one is exposed to various forms of sports and athletics by a natural tendency. In the world of sports and athletics, Ghana can boast of iconic personalities like C.K. Gyamfi who played and coached the Black Stars of Ghana. As a coach of the Ghana National football team, he won the African Cup of Nations three times (1963, 1965 and 1982); David Kotei Poison changed the boxing culture in Ghana as he became the first Ghanaian professional boxer to win the world title.
He defeated Ruben Olivares on 20th September, 1975 to win the WBC world featherweight belt; Azumah Nelson became the second Ghanaian to win the world title. Regarded as the greatest boxer to come out of Africa he defended his WBC world featherweight title for 10 years after claiming the
belt on 8th December, 1984.

Abedi Pele

In the world of football, Abedi Pele marked well by winning the African Footballer of the Year three consecutive times. Aziz Zakari participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics and African Championships in Athletics. He won three gold medals for Ghana during the African Championships in Athletics.
In modern times the Ghanaian youth is handicapped when it comes to opportunities in sports and athletics due to a culture of mismanagement that has stifled the growth of the industry and left rare talents unemployed. It is a fact most of the youth spend more time and energy supporting foreign teams at the expense of local grown teams because of the lack of quality and business opportunities in the local sports and athletics industry.
Sports and athletics development have generated large income to states and individuals that have managed it well. Sport and athletics have helped diversify several economies creating maximum opportunities for citizens and foreigners. As in the case of agricultural products, talents in sports and
athletics in Ghana have become raw materials. These raw talents knowing the lack of opportunities in their motherland spend large amounts of money to travel to Europe where they hope their talents will be appreciated and exploited.

Government and private individuals must invest in sports and athletics to help create economic opportunities and offer entertainment to the people. The human resource in this area is available and when diligence and focus is applied to the strategy, sports and athletics will once again become
a major source of revenue and entertainment. The battle for economic freedom is laborious. As a Republic we cannot afford to let our youth invest
resources into foreign interests whereas our country’s interest is been remitted. A proper architect of a Republic understands the role sports and athletics play in the economic and socio-political well-being of a country. I dare the youth to elect leaders with a clear vision and strategy for sports and athletics in order to contribute to the general development of our Republic.

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