19 July 2017

Feature: Asamoah Gyan; prime reason Ghana should invest in sports

A. Gyan

GHANAsoccernet.com columnist Yaw Adjei-Mintah argues Asamoah Gyan’s outstanding contribution to country is a major reason government should invest more in sports.

If an athlete hardly regarded as world class contributes this much, imagine what Ghana can benefit from transcendent figures like Michael Jordan or Usain Bolt?

Aside a few steadfast stewards of Ghana’s most popular sport like the late Alhaji Sly Tetteh and tough talking trainer J.E. Sarpong, there is hardly little evidence to prove the nation’s greatest striker had support from the state in his formative years as a footballer.

The numbers back Asamoah Gyan as the greatest Ghanaian striker whoever lived while this claim to the throne of a football loving country is a foregone conclusion at least on statistical grounds, there is no question Gyan is a major benevolent citizen of the land.

Seeing rays of sunlight permeate the sky enveloped by a dark mist on almost all the days of July thus far, the 18th day in the month highlights the harsh reality Ghana’s youth particularly those in sports, face in the present and are bound to face in the future.

While President Nana Akuffo-Addo held a Press Conference at the plush Flagstaff House in one of Accra’s most pristine areas, a hoard of supporters descended on Accra Academy campus to catch a glimpse of Gyan commissioning a modern sports complex for his Alma Mater.

Here was Ghana’s first gentleman delivering an expected long speech riddled with debt laden economic numbers and political matters over the course of his reign as President while sadly sidestepping key issues bordering the entertainment and sports industries.

And on the other hand was a man putting such lofty promises to action for his community. In the lead up to the 2016 general elections, debates barely touched on the sectors above.

Basically, the communication here is Sports and Entertainment doesn’t matter to the Government which is shocking knowing how such industries have transformed economies overnight.

On a macro level, the impact of Sports contributes $14 billion to America’s economy in 2013 but on a micro level, athletes like Asamoah Gyan have been given back to society indirectly improving the economy.

Fact is money accrued from Hollywood  form the basis of the world’s most powerful country’s economy. In 2013, $504 billion from the creative industry contributed to the US’ GDP according to Hollywood ReporterThat figure grew to $700 billion in 2015 per the Chicago Tribune. 

The polarizing figure is not alone as the likes of Draymond Green of 2017 NBA Champions Golden State Warriors recently donated a million dollars to Michigan State University.

In putting up the beautiful edifice, Gyan has pumped 700,000 Ghana Cedis into Ghana’s economy not forgetting the many jobs created for individuals who worked on the project. Can you ever imagine Ghana’s Education Trust Fund pumping this much money into a sports project?

For Ghana’s Education Ministry, the least said about the institution, the better. Several players will horn their talent on the Asamoah Gyan built pitch while track and field athletes are primed to do same when the tartan tracks are ready for use.

In effect, the former Liberty Professionals player’s contribution is prepping the next generation up for greatness in multiple sports.  Per Ghana’s Captain, his Baby Jet Foundation has invested five million Ghana Cedis in such projects in the country and the best part is, he is committed to do more in the coming years.

Prior to Gyan commencing the project, he served as a de-facto government official when he stepped in to donate $30,000 to Ghana’s national female team, the Black Queens, in the aftermath of winning gold at the 2015 Africa Games in Congo Republic.

All national teams belong to the state and government is the unit charged for the various teams’ upkeep. Though funds were released to players eventually, it took days of protests for players to get paid after scaling bad preparations and several economic challenges to win for the country.

Before football specifically the Black Stars, experienced a renaissance in 2005, boxing was the main draw for many Ghanaians with world champions like Azumah Nelson and Ike Quartey challenging and defeating the world’s best fighters.

However, the glory days are gone and Ghana’s version of the noble art of self defense is on its knees. Conversely, Asamoah Gyan is handedly funding Ghana’s next world champion.

Through his promotional company, Baby Jet Promotions, Gyan is firmly behind the success of IBO World Lightweight Champion Emmanuel “Game Boy” Tagoe.

Through boxing events organized by Baby Jet Promotions several boxers have gained wins to move up the rankings to land big fights and potentially add to Ghana’s belt collection.

One individual has touched several lives in a positive way in multiple sports. Now imagine how Ghana stands to benefit when a boatload of such individuals scale such heights, Ghana Government must invest in sports.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah

Follow on twitter: @YawMintYM


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