By Patrick Akoto
Ghana’s Sports Minister-designate Isaac Asiamah appeared before the Appointment Committee of Parliament to be grilled for the position on Tuesday but he flattered to deceive in the final analysis.
The former member of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Sports, was examined on various topics, including funding, sports development, youth development, which is an integral part of his ministry, sports facilities, national teams, player bonuses and budget.
It’s fair to say that a book must not be judged by its cover and may be prudent to wait a little longer to pass judgement on his performance when he assumes the role.
But in the same vein, it’s also fair to deduce that cometh events cast their shadows and will therefore be proper to pass some form of judgement on his performance amid its inherent potential recital on his job.
For those of us who are directly involved in the development and promotion of basketball, we feel utterly disappointed with responses bordering on the less-financed sports.
On the way forward for the development of lesser-known sports, the Member of Parliament for Atwima said, “we need a legal framework for all the sporting disciplines, creating certain benchmarks and regulations for our sports”.
“There are about 40 disciplines with talents in all and there will be the efforts to harness the potential we have in all these smaller disciplines”, he said.
He adds that he’s going to create a desk for lesser-known sports including basketball at the National Sports Authority (NSA).
That claim in my view betrays his basic understanding on how the structures work at the NSA.
There are desks already created at the supervisory body with representation of the various federations, ie General Secretaries whose duty is to fashion out and implement programmes for the various disciplines.
What the Ghana Basketball Association needs is not a desk at the National Sport Authority.
Infrastructure, financing, training, and structural reforms are what is required to turn the flagging disciplines and make it extremely attractive for potential brands.
Mr Asiamah simply lacked the understanding of the myriad of problems confronting the lesser-known sports – hiding under the cover of creating needless desks for the disciplines.
He was too edgy, impatient and a pointless bravado of attempting to impress – Which he failed miserably by the way.
He promised to be a minister for all disciplines and channel his energies into other areas apart from football (or in particular reference Black Stars).
But it appears he failed to convince the basketball fraternity that he will walk the talk.
I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt but it’s obvious he lacked substance when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointment Committee.
Usual rhetoric of consultation and engaging stakeholders dominated his long winding grilling where he appeared to lack the temperament.
He appeared agitated when quizzed on a number of peculiar matters affecting the sports in Ghana and will need a calm head to impress if approved.
Already there is a clarion call on his Excellency the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to revoke his appointment but that will be far-fetched considering the partisan nature of our body politics.
In the worst case scenario, he will go through by a simple majority vote as his ruling Party; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) wields the numbers to confirm him.
However, there are major striking problems confronting basketball and other less-financed sports in Ghana which require drastic and draconian measures to address.
Creating the congenial atmosphere and providing resources in terms of quality education, skills and attitudinal development has become a routine talk shop.
On the scale of what transpired during the vetting, Mr Asiamah was unimpressive, cocky and abrasive and will need to work on his personal traits to restore confidence in him.
Nevertheless, the basketball community will be watching with baited breath how he will silence his critics and win over those who have questioned his competence, like myself.