How 2018 could have been an uprising for Ghanaian Women in Sports
This year, Ghana hosted Africa’s flagship Women’s football tournament; the Total Women African Cup of Nations and the tournament was one of a resounding success for the organizers.
The build-up to the tournament was one which I’ll describe as a dramatic bumpy journey. From the struggle of getting the venues ready, the Anas exposě on corruption in Ghana football delayed preparation for the host nation’s team and to the rumours that the hosting rights were stripped off from Ghana. It was just too dramatic for journalists who followed all these events until the finally the tournament started.
The Women’s African Cup was a golden chance for the country to put the spotlight on Ghanaian women in sports. It was an opportunity for our female sports journalists to show why they are as good or even better than the male counterparts. An opportunity for the female footballers and other sportswomen to portray the need to invest in female sports in Ghana.
Some might agree with me on the fact that, the undercover investigation by a journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, had a terrible effect on the preparations of the AWCON 2018. Ghana’s football administration had to be put under an interim committee to oversee footballing activities. Obviously plans that the initial Ghana Football Association had for the big women’s tournament would have changed due to this issue. It even coursed major delays in getting the venues ready for the cup. Female sports journalist were mostly interested in how things were going to pan-out although only a few believed that Ghana could still host the tournament. Sometime in August, it was announced that Ghana had been stripped of the rights as host for the tournament. This “thankfully” came out to be a rumour and it remained so as the Confederation of African Football showed solid support for Ghana to stage the tournament.
In November it started and run through to December when it came to a glorious end. Organizers were very much pleased that no negative event came out in the course of the two weeks tournament. We all know how the results went, the host nation’s team, the Black Queen crushed out in the group stages surprisingly. And Nigeria added to their already crowded trophy cabinet of AWCON titles.
Perhaps if events didn’t happen as they did, this tournament could have been the best way to showcase our Ghanaian female sporting potentials. Even though it was a football tournament, other athletes in different disciplines like boxing, volleyball, athletics, handball and basketball could have equally used the platform to show the world what this country holds when it comes to females in sports. It is obvious that events leading to the AWCON 2018, also killed a lot of interest about the tournament and very little was done to revive it. About a week to the start of the tournament, I went around the streets of Osu, to find out if they’ve heard of the upcoming AWCON. Surprisingly, the majority of them gave the negative answer. What made it more shocking was that this was the part of Accra, where one of the stadiums for the tournament was located. Maybe we were depending on the “they’ll pick up” attitude from Ghanaians but that didn’t really work especially when the Black Queens were eliminated.
It was an opportunity that it is safe to say that, was squandered by all the stakeholders involved in the tournament and that includes us all. The big question now is; what next is install for female football in Ghana? Are going back to watch the ladies play on the “sakora” fields and call it the women’s Premier League? Or are there new plans to make the female game more attractive?
Whatever there is, female sports in Ghana must not return to its previous state.