Rite Multimedia chief, Yaw Sakyi Afari, has urged government to pay little attention to basketball in Ghana ahead of the hugely anticipated Sprite Ball Championship this weekend.
Twenty-four (24) boys and girls schools will gather at the El-Wak stadium to battle each other in a contest which will is expected to draw a record crowd.
The build-up has been intense, expectation on the high, sense of optimism brewing and the desire and commitment to win the ultimate title rising through players, coaches and fans.
But ahead of the most popular High School Basketball in Ghana, the age-long debate about the neglect of the game by authorities has resurfaced.
Undoubtedly, basketball in the West African zone is growing at a fast rate with keen interest being shown by the youth emerging as the height of a boiling attention.
However lack of financial support has bedeviled the sports, prompting fears it could lead to the collapse of the game if government does not step in to bail it out.
Accra-based event conglomerate, Rite Multimedia, has been at the forefront of spearheading the development and promotion of the game since 2007 without any governmental intervention.
Giants beverage company Coca-Cola with one of its brands, Sprite, have played a tremendous role in financing the hugely popular sports amongst the youth in Ghana over the past seven years.
“We need government to step in and help out because it becoming financially difficult to sustain the game,” Rite Multimedia boss Afari told Accra-based Happy FM
“Sprite has been amazing. But for them the dream and aspirations of many of these young talents could have gone up smoke.
“We are extremely grateful to them for believing in the dream and offering a hand to these mushrooming potentials in Ghana.
“However I believe it’s time government inject some capital in the running of the sports in Ghana.
He believes such a move will enhance the prospect of the game and attract many who have dreams of making basketball a career avenue.
“Look the potential in basketball is huge and I think it’s time we put pragmatic steps to ensure the game is developed and promoted extensively in the country.
“Building of facilities is key to the development of the game. Government can build facilities in the country which I believe will prove the catalyst of a growing reputation of the sports.
“You should be in Tamale and get a gym and proper facility to train on. As a country we don’t even have a single indoor basketball facility which for me is a big shame and affects people’s desire to venture into the game.
“Government must lead the way and I believe other corporate organizations will follow suit.
“Sustainability is key and so we can only hope that the government through the ministry of youth and sports can channel just 10% of the monies allocated to football or the Black Stars into the game.” he concluded
Not until today, the game was played by the wealthy and powerful in our various societies across the country. As a result, a certain level of prestige has been attached to the game that many young men and women are learning how to play the game.
But today that perception has waned as many from varied backgrounds have shown interest in the Ghana.
The talent is in abundant in the country and so if government(s) and corporate entities will support the game like the way they do for football, then many youths will find the game attractive and will also be a source of employment for many Ghanaians.
The 2014 Sprite Ball Championship rolls out between Friday January 10 and Saturday 11 at the El-Wak stadium with fans keenly awaiting the biggest high school competition in Ghana.