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Opinions of Sunday, 17 September 2017

Columnist: Abagna Jose Nelson

Stop taking Upper East for granted, Mr. Sarpei

The skin needs not to be told water is a certain sacrosanct divine that it must be served with at times. The days when failure was unforeseen circumstance is long gone and the adage "Coming events cast their shadows" give credence to the above.

A Frafra indigene much noted for control of the language will draw the lines of clarity with: “If you have a bad leader spearheading a group, failure is inevitable.”

I have minced no words since the appointment of Mr. Sarpei Daniel Kwadey as the Upper East Regional Director of the National Sports Authority, upon my first meeting with him at the Sports Stadium that his presence may not yield any dividends in the sports circle for the region.

His posture doesn't represent an individual who has the interest for the development of sports in the region. His lackadaisical attitude towards sports, his office of service to Ghanaians and, specifically the office of the Upper East region has rendered sports infrastructure and growth of the people in terms of sports, anaemic.

The National Sports Authority (NSA) is the umbrella organisation under which the various aports associations operate. The Association is responsible for initiating and executing policies, programmes and projects to ensure the development and promotion of Sports in Ghana. In a nut-shell, they are responsible for the administration of sports in the country.

But same cannot be said of the Upper East Region. The choice of leader for the implementation of the above mentioned responsibilities of the NSA has failed to represent its purpose. The Regional Director of the NSA seems to be oblivious of the mandate handed him.

The sports-loving populace of the region is raging with despair over the future of their heart-felt love. Almost every facility is in tatters and crying for maintenance. The grassless sports stadium has been a big challenge for him. One of the biggest assets of the national sports authority is the sports stadium and if he can’t manage that very well then I doubt if he deserves to stay on as the director of sports.

It took nearly half a year to replace the stadium gate which was broken by Lesken Company Ltd vehicle, despite the company releasing funds to the authority for the damage cost. Funny enough, until the atmosphere within Bolga was pregnant with allegation of misappropriation of the money, or to be more blunt, Mr. Sarpei allegedly "filling his pockets with the said money" he looked on unconcern.

The Bolgatanga Sports Stadium is currently undergoing an upgrade by the chairman of the Regional Football Association, Mr. Salifu Zida with support from Mr. Dominic Asabea a former Regional Director of the sports authority. Whose duty is it to maintain our facilities to enhance the development of sports?

Two years should be enough for the thumbprint of one to be felt in an institution, but Mr. Sarpei is an exception. He's turned himself into a football spectator and yelling at referees for decisions he feels are wrong. He engages in public outburst with people but coil away from the media when he's needed to answer questions. His bosses should be disappointed that they gave a role to someone who cannot point out one single achievement he has chalk for the region, but has built a reputation of a street warrior.

A region with great history in the field of sports has been reduced to a mechanical awkward athletes are stripped naked before the very eyes of the country's media. When golds and silvers are the medals others seek for, Upper East's quest is a mirage.

When his institution made available sixty (60) medals to be fought for in the revived national sports festival earlier this month by ten regions, the Upper East could only manage three. The failure in the sports festival is down to total negligence. Not to downplay the importance of the Inter-regional senior high school sports festival, but it was needless for the director to choose Cape Coast over assembling funds for the team to prepare for the festival.

It only takes a miracle to raise funds for an event within six days. Mr. Sarpei sent letters requesting for support from cooperate bodies and MMDAs with barely three days to the National Sports Festival. That's an absolute joke!

When athletes complained about the pitiable manner of organisation and how they were embarking on the journey, he had the temerity to ask them to pack their bags home if they felt the conditions were venomous. Who motivates his athletes with such kangaroo approach?

Does he seek success for his tenure? Basic requirements of a team were never in place. The soccer girls had to borrow socks from Greater Accra and Northern Regions to play matches. Had Mr. Sarpei chosen to stay and seek funds for the team, most of these basic needs would have been solved. But he chose to dance in Cape Coast with students and accepting responsibility for the region to host the next SHS inter-regional sports festival when immediate problems were pending.

Ordinary accreditation cards for some athletes was an issue, and this problem rendered the Volleyball teams incapacitated because they had no credentials making them eligible to be fed by the organisers.

Who plays when he's hungry? But they were told to stop playing if they are too hungry by the person who's duty it is to represent their interest.

It sounds more ridiculous knowing that he initially saw no need for the badminton team to be part of Team Upper East.

But the determination of Christopher Akuba Baky, the badminton team were part of the contingent representing the region at Kumasi and won the region's only GOLD and Silver medals at the games. So had it not been the incessant pressure from the young man, the region would have ended the games with just one Bronze medal which came in volleyball men.

And right after the team was presented with their Gold medal Mr. Sarpei feeling proud wanted to take some pictures with the team, the athletes slush him and handed the trophy first to their coach before he could get hold of the trophy.

Mr. Sarpei has lost touch with the people and should get his socks up and running to make amends. The region I was born cannot be taken for granted.

If people like these are in the Upper East Region as NSA officers, how can my region develop?

GOD BLESS MOTHERLAND GHANA, GOD BLESS UPPER EAST REGION SPORTS.