Two minutes and eight seconds.
That’s how much time the much-awaited State of the Nation address on Thursday dedicated to sport. It was delivered by President Mahama at the Parliament House.
Sport was not high on the agenda. 1. Scholarship for the golden girl
The President announced that Martha Bissah will receive a schorlaship from government to develop her talent in the United States of America.
“In athletics, consistent planning and the personal development of our (the nation’s) athletes, earned Ghana our first Gold medal at any level.
“The 17-year old Martha Bissah from Kumasi who won Gold at the Youth Olympics for special mention,” Mahama said in Parliament on Wednesday.
He went on: “Martha will be afforded the opportunity to join other young athletes on schorlarship in US Colleges where she can develop her talent.”
Bissah ran a lifetime best to win Ghana’s first gold medal at the Youth Olympics in China last year. 2. Respect for the local football leagues
The Ghana Football Association got a subtle dig to double-up their efforts in improving the local league.
Despite their consistently vehement claims to the contrary, the nation’s football governing body have always been criticized for focusing just on developing the Black Stars brand.
Analysts watching the State of the Nation address found it significant that the President echoed the prevailing notion.
“The seeming total neglect of our local football league is a matter of concern to football loving fans,” Mahama lamented, going on to say to “urge the Football Association to turn its attention to improving the quality of our local league and work towards making it more attractive, exciting and worth following.”
He also asked for some more attention to be given other junior national teams.
“Let me urge the Ghana Football Association to put a lot more focus on the other national teams just like it does for the senior national team in order to adequately prepare them for their international competitions as well.” 3. Thumbs up, Black Stars!
But the President would not finish without praising the efforts of the senior national football team in the recently-ended Africa Cup of Nations.
“I wish to once again congratulate the senior national team, the Black Stars, for their performance at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.”
“Many Ghanaians had lost hope in the Black Stars at the beginning of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea. They gathered themselves together, rose from the ashes of Brazil 2014 and prove themselves.”
Team Ghana finished runners-up, having lost on penalties to neighbouring Ivory Coast on penalties, and the head of state reminded his subjects about the importance of putting the performance in context.
“It is not the first silver medal for the Black Stars but the developments from Brazil is what has changed the dynamics here.” 4. Infrastructure
In one sentence, the President touched on the only real project that’s being worked on in the country in terms of sport facilities.
“On the development of sporting infrastructure, work is progressing speedily on the Cape Coast Stadium and is expected to be completed this year.”
And that was that.
– Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith
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