Hon. Mustapha Ussif, the Minister of Youth & Sports says he is looking forward to work with the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) to develop sports.
He expressed that the greatest resource is the youth of the country, not the gold or oil, so they must be encouraged to engage in sports, as Ghana is a sports country.
He revealed that cabinet has approved the establishment of the Sports Development Fund, while preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games must be excellent.
The newly elected Executive Board of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) / Commonwealth Games Association Ghana led by President Ben Nunoo Mensah on Monday 29th March, 2021 visited the Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Mustapha Ussif at his office at the Sports Ministry in Accra.
After introducing the board members to the Minister, the GOC President stated that all the Federation heads, which include some of the best sports administrators, top professionals and successful prosperous businessmen are fully behind him to execute the mandate given him by the President Nana Akufo Addo as sector Minister.
The GOC President commended the Minister on his elevation and thanked him for showing up at the Congress that elected all members of the Green Team.
The Minister who was former Director of the National Service Secretariat welcomed the GOC and congratulated them for the victory and successful congress.
He declared looking forward to work with the new executive board to put Ghana Sports on a high level, as he was prepared to collaborate to work on a comprehensive strategic plan in a vision to give attention to all sports.
He expressed that the youthful resources are not limited, and they can be tapped to put Ghana Sport high through the efforts of the GOC and Ministry.
The GOC President made a passionate appeal to the Minister to lobby for more funds through the budgetary allocation for sports as they are the second least financed Ministry.
Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah pleaded with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to ask the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for more funds to finance its activities in the 2021 calendar year.
According to Mr. Mensah, the GHS 34,412,805 allocated to the Ministry in the 2021 budget is “extremely small” and likely to run out after a few months.
He said the Sports Ministry was currently under-funded and its current budget was likely to run-out after the senior men’s national football team (Black Stars) plays a few matches.
“Honourable Minister, the first challenge as you said is your funding. Unfortunately, I heard about the budget that has been given to you and I still think that it is extremely small.
“The more money we put in our youth development and our sports, the less money we are going to put in our health sector and then we are creating a future for more of our youth.
“So, I will still plead with you if it is possible that you need to go back to honourable Ken Ofori-Atta, we still need money”.
He said although the Black Stars as the country’s flagship sports brand were deserving of the funds spent on them, the development of other sports must not be neglected as a result.
“We have a huge brand in our Black Stars, so we need to sustain them with a lot of money. Black Stars play two-three matches and then our budget is wiped out, it’s justifiably so.
Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah said the perception that sports is leisure should cease and the media must also shun negative reportage that retards sponsorship.
He explained that it is the athletes and media who benefit mostly from sponsorship, so the branding must always be positive.
He urged the media to also work with the federations and Ministry to attract funds for the least financed disciplines and lift up the image of Ghana Sports.
The GOC President hailed the former Minister Isaac Asiamah for investing in infrastructure, and appealed to Mustapha Ussif to invest in the athletes.
“We can not expect our athletes to win medals with four months preparation, when others have prepared for four years” he said.
He reiterated that Ghana has a good name in sports, and insisted that the YEA Package for sportsmen and women should be continued.
The new Chief Director of the Ministry contributed that Sports is business, and has the largest following as well as unifies the nation.
The new Secretary General, Mohammed Sahnoon, who is also the President of Ghana Cycling added that structures must be put in place and regulations must be made to work.
The oldest member of the board, Rev. Emmanuel Nikoi, President of Ghana Netball appealed to the Ministry to support Federations in paying their international affiliation fees.
He advised the Minister to listen to the federation heads often than the media.