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Dear Hon. Sports Minister,

This week has been tough for you and I do sympathise with you as you have had to face the public and try to explain why the country’s national football teams need USD 25 million for their various assignments between this year and 2022.

A lot more of these episodes will occur in your time as the minister so please get ready for them but I wish you well and I ask for strength to handle these matters.

I only have a few thoughts to share with you and I plead that you take some time to read what I have on my mind.

Number one: Hon. Minister, clarity of communication is king. When you want to send an idea across, please be sure of what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Number two: Hon. Minister, please learn to read the room at all times. The words “Black Stars” and “money” now rub Ghanaians the wrong way and they do not take kindly to that.

After the events of the 2014 World Cup, all talk of money for the Black Stars grates the emotions and senses of Ghanaians even if the team really needs whatever amounts we are talking about. Please understand this truth and know how to chart your path going forward.

Number three: Hon. Minister, I know you want to make a mark in the story of Ghana sports. That is very laudable but that mark will not be made if you are not willing to take tough, bold, creative and proactive decisions.

Seeking the help of corporate Ghana to support Ghana sports is very wonderful, I give you full marks for that and you even get extra for getting the President of Ghana to buy into your idea. You and the President have managed to get corporate executives to sit in one room, break bread with each other and listen to proposals that are seeking to unite sports and big cash.

But Hon. Minister, is that sustainable in the long term?

What about the Sports Fund?

What are your ideas concerning that? The current Sports Bill does not speak of the bill. During your vetting, you touched on ways of putting cash in the fund when/if it came to life.

So, I ask, what is the latest on the Sports Bill?

You may have things on your plate at the moment but your tenure will not be assessed on the number of tournaments Ghana took part in.

Your time as the Sports Minister will be placed on the scales of policy, legacy and long term consequences and measured accordingly.

Number four- Hon. Minister, please lead.

My boss, Bernard Avle, always says people like to flaunt their position but they fail to work. You are the Minister of Youth and Sports and so, you will have to guide the sector and you will have to make is successful. You ask how you can lead and make an impact.

My previous point mentioned policy and you will have to be big on that.

The countries we want to emulate and eventually rival and overtake are big on the policy of building the base.

So, if we have USD 10 million to spend and another 15 coming from corporate Ghana, why are we not thinking of upgrading the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence to enable it host all our national teams and eliminate the costs associated with camping players in hotels?

Hon. Minister, you said that the Sports Ministry owed M Plaza Hotel an amount of GHS 4 million in camping costs.

Algeria, who are the defending AFCON champions, have the Sidi Moussa technical centre where their national teams meet and train for assignments.

Sidi Moussa Technican Centre in Algeria

Morocco recently opened the King Mohammed VI football complex and may refer to it as the most advanced football training facility on the continent.

The facility has 66 rooms and 4 suites for the main national team. It also has 150 beds for their U-23 national team and 45 beds for their U-17 team. The complex also has four natural fields, three astro turfs and one indoor field.

One may argue that the facilities in places like Cameroon and Senegal may be CAF-assisted but they exist nonetheless and they are being used to improve their football fortunes.

I know that some people will give you the popular refrain that says: “With all these things, what success do these countries have to show?”

Morocco recently won the CHAN tournament and they will try and try until they win the main AFCON. In any case, the have the facilities to ensure that their players get the right education to take them to their target.

Hon. Minister, I understand that Prampram is not under your direct supervision. I know that is the GFA’s child and the association has to take care of it.

However, there is nothing wrong should you sit down with the people at the GFA and say that government wants to help take the edifice to the next level and make it a part of the main conversation around national football.

Conclusion

I know you want things to work out. I also want the same thing. We want Ghana sports to grow, develop, excel and be the envy of many.

Is it possible? It is more than possible. It will happen if we start to focus on the things that are noble, pure and very important when it comes to sports in Ghana.

It will happen if you do not try to understand what other nations have done and follow their lead in terms of developing sports and since we are on that subject, please bring in some very qualified people in the area of sports policy formulation and administration.

If health, economy, finance and other areas of government business get all these experts, sports should get its share of some good brains to ensure the progress of the domain.

Hon. Minister, I wish you the very best in your endeavours.

From a concerned citizen and someone who loves Ghana sports,

Nathan Quao

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