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Love and loathed: Referees in Ghana

Nyansah

Basketball in Ghana has evolved over the past ten years but one essential part of the game that has gained inches got to do with officiating.

Officiating forms an integral part of ensuring the smooth growth and development of the game in the West African country.

The fact remains that most of the officials ruling the game now are fixated in the capital with oversight responsibilities for virtually all the basketball competitions in Ghana.

From Sprite Basketball Championship to Milo Junior Ball, running through Ghana Polytechnic Games (GHAPSA), GUSA Games, SESSA Games, Unity Games, UPAC Championship, Community Dunks and the Greater Accra Basketball Series amongst others, the litany of officials are well dotted in all these competitions.

An array of retired players have ventured into the profession, turning their new found scale into a field highly regarded as controversial.

The likes of Steve Honger, Nyansah, Anane, young Frank Gyandu and Bamford Gasu Quarmye are the hugely regarded referees in Ghana.

Their actions and inactions have courted controversies over the years with critics having calls to question their professional competence and integrity at some point.

Their worse critics have accused many of them of showing lack of mental toughness to merit the badge.

Many if not all have been basterdized for one reason or the other and on many occasions leaving massive cracks at the top of the refereeing association.

Sadly some have even been accused of lacking the ability to interpret the basic rules, robbing in their face what one would readily assume could have been easily tapped.

Many have been quick to blow the whistle against some of the match officials with calls for some phantom travels calls gaining inches especially in the Greater Accra Basketball League series especially.

It’s possible that the officials are ill-equipped to call games involving rival teams like CEPS and Tema Youth because some have struggled to such fast-paced athletic basketball.

Basketball in Ghana is growing at a fast rate and officials must begin to adjust to the growing trend and educate themselves on new happenings.

Steve HongerWhat is really happening in my candid opinion is ‘Robin Hood’ officiating. Without doubt CEPS and Mfantsipim have the greatest collection of talents in the League and at the Senior High School respectively.

Everyone roots for the little guys, and it seems the Ghanaian officials just cannot check their bias at the door.

While sympathy for an underdog is understandable, in a referee it is wholly inappropriate.

While the two teams remain the best, the margin is closing as the year go by.

For instance the semi-final contest involving Mfantsipim and Keta Senior High at the 2013 Sprite Ball Championship was tainted by perceived poor officiating which led to their decision of boycotting the third-and-fourth placed match.

This tacit move by Ketasco violated not the rules but the spirit of the game but one could easily attribute some of the low-calls to lack of training.

In as much as many have the right to criticize the actions of the men in black, it’s imperative they are offered the needed support in bringing the best out of them.

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