Hockey News of Monday, 7 January 2008
Source: Ghana Hockey Association
The IPMC Hockey league ended on Saturday with valuable lessons for all to emulate. Indeed, the lessons were actually a manifestation of how institutional influence can transform sports in the country. Very glaring examples can be found in the immediate past performance of Golden Sticks of Ghana Commercial Bank in men’s hockey and Extinguishers of the Ghana National Fire Service in women’s hockey.
This year, Exchequers and CEPS dominated the hockey scene and even more pronounced for CEPS because of the massive injection of support to recruit and to motivate the playing and coaching staff. CEPS won virtually everything in their sights this season in both male and female categories missing out narrowly to Exchequers in the IPMC Hockey men A-League. On the final day of competition, as many as 3 senior officials of CEPS were at the hockey pitch to lend their support to their teams and they were seen interacting with the players and coaches and encouraging them to get the desired result. Information picked during the season indicated that management has continuously assured the teams of the institution’s support and have offered the appropriate incentive to motivate them to perform. Management assigned one senior officer to the team who was constantly with them throughout the season and even on the last day of competition.
The story of Exchequers is even more sensational considering that in 2004 the club commenced an ambitious rebuilding exercise after most of the senior players reached an agreement with the handlers to opt for new clubs. This turn of event was very much unexpected and brought the unparalleled achievements of the club to arguably its lowest ebb since it formation in 1972 in the ensuing season.
According to Mr. Kester Ajao, Team Manager of Exchequers, the fall was so dramatic that management of the Central Bank weighed its options whether to continue to support an institutional club. The Institution however committed to the development of the health and wellbeing of its human resource through their participation in sports and continued to offer its support to the hockey club. As has been the case in the past years, an Exchequers management team led by Mr. J. B. Alhassan was tasked to rebuild the club and restore it to its past glory. The Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Paul Acquah and his 2 Deputies, especially Dr. M. Bawumia were said to have shown a lot of interest in the welfare of the club because according to sources, he (the Governor) had observed that majority of the trophies that decorated the cabinet in his office were won by the Institution’s hockey club. The Team Manager also emphasized that the response of the institution’s management to their requests was phenomenal and this had a great impact on the performance of the team. He cited the example of the club languishing in 5th position at the end of the first round of the IPMC league competition and the massive injection of support forms such as increase in allowances and supply of equipment to motivate the team to climb back steadily. The response of the players was simply unbelievable. From Monday to Thursday, they woke up at 4:30am to undergo physical training under their instructor WOI Peter Mensah. The old players led by Alfred (MC) Armah, Ben (Lalas) Tarley, Robert Aryee and Samuel Kwaw would lead a training session around 6:30am under the supervision of the coaching staff of R. Abaidoo, K. Ajao and Nat Botchway. The team vowed to win all the second round matches to ensure the title was theirs and this they did with the exception of the last match which they drew.
The victory of Exchequers is well-deserved and is a clear manifestation of how institutional support for sports can further accelerate the fortunes of sports in the country. It is the hope of hockey followers that the Central Bank will continue with the good work they have done so far and ensure the participation of Exchequers in the prestigious Africa Cup for club Championship this year.