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Sports Features of Thursday, 30 January 2014

Source: mawuli Viwotor

Airlifting Fans To Brazil

Use Money For Disability Sports

The days are gradually moving us closer to the much talked about and anticipated World Cup in Brazil and preparations are being put in place to ensure the nation does not only participate but also leaves a mark in the world of international football.

As preparations gather momentum, the issue of transporting Ghanaians to Brazil with the taxpayer’s money to cheer the Black Stars of Ghana on at the Mundial is still being considered.

There are two schools of thought on this important matter that means a lot to Ghanaians, knowing that football is a great passion of the nation.
One school is of the opinion that, since the world cup is a quadrennial event and there is no guarantee that one would always be there, it is important to give Ghanaians a feel of the event, more so when their presence plays a part in motivating the team to do very well.
The other school is of the conviction that engaging in this business of transporting fans to the world cup is not a bad idea but this time around, considering the cost involved, there is no need spending that much to transport Ghanaians to Brazil.
Some even argue that, the process used in selecting those to be transported to such events opens it up for corruption and manipulation by some individuals to their advantage or for selfish interests.
It is estimated that the nation would have to spend as much as $13,500 on each person desiring to go to the World Cup on the ticket of the nation. When multiplied by the number of Ghanaians wishing to take advantage of this opportunity, one can imagine the burden on the taxpayer.
The question still lingers and as the time approaches, the nation needs to quickly come up with a decision that would be in the interest of all, not just a few. As we await a firm decision, there are reports that some of our supporters have already taken the initiative to use an alternative means of transport to the Mundial: by sea. Though that is considered a cheaper means, it is reported that they want to do that with expected support from government. Then, the cost of internal transport and accommodation also comes into play.
The Catalyst would like to add its voice to the debate by advocating a reduction in the number from what was sent to South Africa, where the cost was lower. Better still, apart from officials who are playing very significant roles in Ghana’s participation, no other person should be sponsored by the state.
Whatever money would have been used to sponsor the fans should be channelled into a sporting project, disability sports or the lesser known sports. Many of these lesser-known sports have international events coming up this year and athletes are wondering how they would be able to raise the funds to participate in the name of Ghana.
The Amputee Football Team would be going to the World Cup in Mexico, the Commonwealth Games are coming off later this year, among many others and the usual ‘no money’ excuse awaits these athletes. Why can’t we use this opportunity to channel some of the funds from corporate bodies and the rest to push these less-fortunate athletes who are always raising the flag of Ghana high in their various disciplines?
When we do that, we would be surprised at the number of sports men and women who would benefit and the impact it would make in their lives. We can watch the World Cup at game villages, among others but when lesser-known sports fail to attend international events, there are no alternatives and in some instances, they are sanctioned. Spending all our resources on football to the detriment of other sports is not a good approach to developing sports in the country.
Rather than spending that money on fans, give it to Disability Sports!!!

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