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Other Sports of Thursday, 28 March 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

Beach soccer to lead sports tourism in Ghana

The Ghana Beach Soccer Association (GBSA) and the La Pleasure beach resort have joined forces to elevate beach soccer as a major sports tourism lure in the capital.

This was disclosed by executives and management of the two outfits after fruitful talks that lasted over two hours at the La beach arena. It is understood that Zoomlion through their beach and coastal management wing Zoil would be key partners of the project.

Speaking after the meeting, the manager of La Pleasure beach resort William Odoi-Cornal stated that leisure, sports and tourism can be packaged to transform the concept of sports and entertainment in Ghana.

"Let us not pretend we can do in a few years, what developed nations have done over a decade or more with so much investment. Instead we will do our best to make a meaningful impact and support all sporting activities on the beach starting with beach soccer".

Beach soccer is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world and the management of the game has proven to be equally challenging in Ghana. The GBSA manages two leagues made up of the Championship with 10 teams and Division 1 which also comprises of 10 teams.

Limited funds posed major problems for the league managers have somehow run the two leagues on a budget of Gh 40,000 a season from Cal Bank.

According to the association's treasurer Nii Armah Nmai, the weekly expenditure for the league has had to be cut down to just under Gh4,000 - which means other sources of funding have to be sought to assist the teams travelling from Cape Coast, Ada, Senya, Prampram and Keta.

The GBSA was formed in 2007 with no available or existing infrastructure but managed to hold a 16 team side-show during AFCON 2008 hosted by Ghana. The association only recently reconstituted after holding congress and elections in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The new partnership will see massive rebranding of the beach soccer venue in Accra. The idea is to replicate the concept right across the coastal belt.

Reacting to media reports of a breakdown in management of the sport, the President of the GBSA Yaw Ampofo Ankrah said it was a ploy to derail the plans of the association.

"We are building something great and it is now reaching a critical phase where we must solidify and consolidate. The biggest mistake any of us could make is to be distracted by individuals who have no interest in the development of the game,” he noted.

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