Feature: Using the Stairs instead of the Elevator

Author: Akosua Addai Amoo
Talented athletes such as Abeiku Jackson need good facilities to hone their talents

Petit a petit l’oiseau fait son nid
This means little by little the bird builds its nest.

Anyone who learnt French at the intermediary level will be familiar with this saying. It’s a life lesson on how growth takes time. It’s a new year and a ‘new decade.’ For many, the first few weeks is a reflection and a projection of what to achieve in the year and the decade. The growth will only start with pragmatic steps.

The year 2019 had a lot of ‘downs’ where sports was concerned in this country, from athletics to volleyball.
A new dawn beckons and we can get the script right this year and this decade. It, however, requires some bold decisions.
First is a thorough plan on what all major sporting federations want to achieve this year and this decade.

We all know the saying that if you fail to plan you plan to fail.’ This has been the hallmark of many of the sports federations, the inability to have an effective plan, year in and year out. Unfortunately, the culture of planning is something very alien to us as a society.

Usually, there seems to be no comprehensive plan. For instance, how many talents do we want to unearth in a year? Which international sporting events will a federation participate in? Which funds will be readily available to make these goals materialise. It has become a tradition to knock on the doors of the sports ministry when a tournament is around the corner.

We all know these tournaments are fixed way before, so what happened to planning? Hopefully, this attitude should be buried this year.

Ghana sport needs a medley of short-term and long-term goals 

Secondly, there should be a medley of short and long-term goals. Miracles do happen, opportunities come, but when there is preparation for the unforeseen, it works magic. Rome wasn’t built in a day; it took time and dedication.

Let’s say the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) has a target of having four world champions and two Olympic medals before the decade ends. It must start with short-term goals such as scouting for talents, playing effective roles in the upbringing of these talents, taking them to regional meets and international meets, etc.
These seeds sowed will one day reap a bountiful harvest and definitely the long-term goals will materialise.

Thirdly, one should have the ability to stick through the goals and plans. This is a very tough one.
Sometimes there is a sketchy idea of what a particular sports federation wants to achieve but there is a lack of discipline to follow through. There is always the big talk of laurels, trophies, titles but these feats don’t come in a vacuum.

There is always a process. For instance, how can we have many swimming stars when there aren’t enough international swimming pools for athletes to train? How can we have volleyball stars when most of the courts are defunct?

Sports federations have to learn to walk that talk and put structures in place to achieve the goals they set. The problem isn’t a lack of vision but the guts to follow through the vision and this is where most federations fail.

Lastly, there should be strategic approaches to acquire funding. Money woes have been the bane of most federations. It is no secret, but the constant dependence on the government should be a thing of the past.

There should be creative initiatives by federations to find the money. Once there are targets and well-laid structures to reach them, they become appealing to the corporate world. As the Akan saying goes, ‘the one who attempts to climb a tree is pushed up by others’.

If there is a vision and it is clearly spelt out, more will love to come on board to help. It is not rocket science that is how things work.

The idea that athletes with little or no plan, preparation and investment can win laurels or go on and rub shoulders with the best is a fallacy. There is no such thing as using an elevator to the top. That’s a fast-food approach which always has dire consequences.

Sports federations should hold themselves accountable to the actions and inaction of their federation.

The ball certainly is in their court. They must start taking the stairs to greatness.