The Ministry of Youth and Sports with its agencies had their turn of the MEET THE PRESS ENCOUNTER on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at the Ministry of Information.
Minister, Hon Mustapha Ussif reviewed projects and achievements in the areas of Sports and Youth Development.
Present at the meeting were Heads of Department under the Ministry, Agencies, and Sports Associations, including the Depurty Sports Minister Evans Opoku Bobie, NSA board chairman Hon Seth Panwum Boyoy, NSA Director General Prof. Peter O. Twumasi, Deputy Information Minister Pious Hadzide, GOC President Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah, Executive Chairman of the LOC Accra 2023 Dr. Kwaku Ofiosu-Asare and others.
The Minister for Information, Hon Kojo Oppong Nkrumah led in introductions before Hon Mustapha Ussif spoke on policies, programmes and activities of the Ministry of Youth & Sports via a power point presentation with videos and pictures.
He revealed that there are over 50 sports federations, and the Ministry works with all of them, such as the Ghana Football Association, Ghana Athletica Association, Ghana Boxing Federation and the Ghana Boxing Authority.
He spoke about the success of the National under 20 team who won the West Africa and African U20 trophy, and the qualification of the Black Stars to the African Nations Cup tournament in Cameroun as well as the achievement of Samuel Takyi at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
According to Hon. Ussif, the Ministry has trained over 2,000 personnel, also collaborate and celebrate international events and programmes.
He announced that 113 athletes have so far qualified for the 2022 Commonwealth Games coming off in Birmingham and preparations are on course, naming some of the disciplines as athletics, badminton, weight lifting, hockey, beach volleyball, table tennis and para sports
He spoke about the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA and the current super performances of some amazing Ghanaian athletes like Ben Azamati, Joe Paul Amoah and Deborah Acquah.
He said the government is investing in sports, that is the reason the athletes are shining, and there are more opportunities coming up.
On the African Games 2023, he hinted how Ghana won the hosting bid in 2018, and preparations on the ground at the University of Ghana, Legon, where the Games Village would be sited, and so far it is impressive, noting that a hybrid system would be used to leverage on existing facilities as they build new ones at Borteman, to be completed by December which would be turned into a Sports University.
Hon. Ussif said 55 African nations, comprising over 5,000 athletes including Ghana are coming to participate in the Africa Games, which would be an attraction for the nation.
He mentioned that sports facilities are being build all over the nation, and the Ministry is working with the Right To Dream model for football, and plans are advanced to ensure that the Black Meteor qualify for the next Olympic Games.
He commended all the national teams that have qualified for various international events like the Black Stars for Qatar, Black Princesses for Costa Rica, Black Maidens for India, and praised Sekondi Hasaacas Ladies for the victories last season.
He promised to light up the Inter Schools and Colleges Sports events, and hailed boxing champions like Samuel Takyi, Isaac Dogboe, Robert Quaye, George Ashie, Holy Dorgbetor, Alfred Lamptey and others, commending the Ghana Boxing Authority for organsing the Pro Boxing League.
According to the Sports Minister, they will soon complete the Regional Resource Centers which were started by Hon. Isaac Asiamah, the previous Minister, and hinted that the nation now boasts of over 90 astro turfs, 30 of which are on going, while they came to meet only two.
He noted that bilateral relations have been established with some embassies and international bodies for technical assistance and exchange programmes to develop grassroots sports especially.
On E-ticketing, he said it has come to stay at all government stadia, as it is simple, reliable and transparent.
He commended Coach Otto Addo for leading the Black Stars to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and suggested that he and his staff should be maintained for the next African Nations Cup, as they also prepare for a 4 Nation Tournament in Japan.
Hon. Ussif revealed an aggressive support base for Team Ghana at upcoming international events, such as the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.
He called on corporate Ghana to invest in Ghana Sports, and more support for his ‘Project One Million Balls’.
By Baffour Akwaboah