Feature Article of Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Columnist: Essel, Kojo Cobba
Boxing legend Azumah Nelson is one man who could unite the motherland. We spent sleepless nights praying and watching him make mince meat of his opponents. Surely there were instances when you had to cover your eyes with your hands from fear. It makes no difference though, eyes wide open or tightly shut the result will remain the same. Aside of the professor no individual or group of people can cause more excitement, smiles, pain, anger and depression than our own BLACK STARS.
We have over 20 million homemade football coaches in our dear land who have the ability to read the game and offer strategic suggestions that can convert an obvious defeat into a win. All these “coaches” are under intense pressure during a Black Stars game but only one man is employed and paid to get the job done.
Last Wednesday, the Zambians turned Ghana into extremely quiet country. Bars and restaurants saw a dip in sales and hospitals had many cases of chest pain, palpitations and dizziness to contend with. I do not blame the players for the loss; why would they want to lose when there was so much at stake for them? Money, career moves, celebrity status and other perks but alas one needs more than a willing soul to play football and win at this level of competition. Why would we field half-fit players in a game? Even after they have publicly disclosed their fitness level. If we do not have a psychologist on the team, it is better to get one NOW! It is impossible to be a professional footballer worth your salt if you do not spend quality hours in a gym most days of the week. How can a country organize a local league yet our top goal scorer and our best player do not find their way into our national team? Something must have gone seriously wrong. We either make use of these hardworking young men, which will motivate others to work hard to excel or it may be time to reduce sponsorship for some of our leagues and simply “export” players. It appears playing in Greenland for one week makes you more eligible to don the national colours than toiling to become the best player on the local scene.
Watching football can make you happy and help to relax you but it can also cause you heartache, anxiety and even premature death. You may be better off if you start playing football yourself since you stand to gain from the numerous health benefits the game offers.
The most popular sport in the world gives you the chance to sprint, walk fast or slow and even stand idle watching when your legs are weak and you are panting like a fish out of water.
The health benefits of football include:
• Improving heart health
• Lowering body fat and improving muscle tone
• Building strength, endurance and flexibility
• Increasing muscle and bone strength
Other benefits worth pursuing include:
• Promoting social skills such as teamwork and sharing
• Teaching coordination
• Teaching you to think on your feet and on-the-go
• Increasing skills in concentration, persistence and self-discipline
• Providing an opportunity to increase our confidence and self esteem and helping to reduce anxiety
So if you are tired of being heart-broken after football matches maybe it will be worth your time to lace your boots and start playing even it means starting in your backyard. At least you will be fulfilling most of the conditions the World Health Organization considers important in its definition of HEALTH.
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club
1. Better Health Channel