Ghana Basketball has been left in a state of despair after the government allocated zero funding to the sports in the first quarter of the year, BASKETBALLghana.com understands.
The decision has been delivered as the West African country continues to struggle to cope with the economic downturn in the country.
The government is under intense pressure to turn around the economic downward spiral with a sharp decline of the Ghana cedi which has affected many sectors of the economy including sports.
They have decided to ‘shore up’ the funding of the so-called lesser known sports they judged to have the best prospect in future international tournament this year, with a raft individual sports likely to receive funding.
Ghana basketball has already expressed its acute disappointment and asked why there has been an abandonment of a sport that has come so far in such a short space of time and one that is demonstrating that it can grow young talent to prepare for medal challenge in the future.
Basketball in Ghana has never really got financial backing from the state over the years as it was highly speculated the government could channel some resources following recent interest in the game amongst the youth especially.
The Sprite Ball for instance has produced many talents who have graduated to form the core of the country’s Under-18 National team for international tournaments over the past few years.
Indeed officials of the Ghana Basketball Association have revealed that the bulk of the 2014 Sprite Ball All-Star team will be drafted to represent the country at the Olympic Games qualifier in 2014.
Great Accra champions CEPS of Custom Division, Ghana Immigration Service, have also been at the forefront of selling the game on the continent after participating in several of those over the years.
They are indeed a household name in Africa and recently placed 4th at the Africa Senior Club Championship held in Liberia.
The country’s Sports minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has been trumpeting the need for corporate companies to come to the aid of the sport.
“I would like to appeal to corporate Ghana to channel some amount of their resources into basketball and the so-called other lesser-known sports,” he said
“With such support I believe the game of basketball will continue to rise. The potentials are there and what they need is our support.
“We can only help them to nurture their talents if we support the growth of the game financially.
“I will therefore plead with companies in Ghana to come and support us develop the game.”
However it’s turning out to be the usual talk shop as his own government has failed to deliver on their promises of funding the sports in the country.
It must be fair to say that, the current problem is not synonymous with the current administration as previous governments have all failed woefully in addressing the challenges confronting the game.
The funding plug has been pulled despite the game making a bold statement in the country and a strong representation of data which has underlined the rising popularity of the sports and especially among the young people.
Greater Accra chairman of the sport, Benjamin Baafi has stated in the past: “There is a gap in the system and that system needs to change otherwise there is no hope to realise legitimate aspiration for those sports that are not already at the table.
“The system is not like a tap. To work effectively, it cannot be turned on and off and still produce players and coaches to succeed in international tournaments.
“The basketball community at home and abroad have been aghast that we never got the funding that we require.
“It seems every barrier to progress for basketball sees a dip; the very country that should be embracing the progress its basketball teams are making.
“Officials must understand that getting value for their investment in basketball will happen but that this takes more time – as it does generally for team sports.
“Given the proper funds, we are confident that Ghana Basketball can build on an already good base and achieve medal potential for the country.
Giants beverage company Coca-Cola have not relented in their dream of making the game thick in Ghana as they continue to pump in cash to support the sports at the Senior High level.
The likes of Ghana Nestle Milo, giants telecommunication network, Tigo and Indomie continue to support the game at the grassroot and the top.