Head of the Ghana Rugby Football Association Mr. Herbert Mensah has bemoaned the lukewarm posture by government and other key arms as the National Sports Authority (NSA), as well as the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) toward lesser-known sports in Ghana, especially rugby.
He made this submission in an interview on GBC 24’s New Sports days ago: “the NSA, government, GOC have not been as forthcoming as we would have hoped that they would be. With the change of government, we are hoping that there might be a better approach to minority sports”
“We try and impress on the system that there’s an obligation – a moral obligation, an ethical obligation to provide for all sports, and you cannot ask people to wear the national jersey, represent he state and be absent in your responsibility”, he held.
There have been numerous complaints about how as a nation, we only appear to focus mainly on football, especially the Black Stars, to the detriment of other sports. There have also been endless calls for more involvement and financial commitment by government and other state agencies toward the development of other sport in the country.
“Rugby is the second most popular sport in the world. Why is it that it is not really felt in Ghana? Why is that there is no funding for it in Ghana? Why is it that successive governments have given absolutely nothing to the game?”, Mr. Mensah lamented about the current situation, before describing as disrespectful, government’s attitude regarding providing requisite support for rugby in the country, especially as the GRFU prepares to host, and participate in forthcoming international tournaments: “there has to be first, a dialogue, because that means you respect us. Where there is no dialogue, then there is no respect, and there has been no dialogue, so we have been disrespected over there since I got involved in rugby, by senior administrators who are happy to take public office but not serve the people.”
That notwithstanding, Mr. Mensah expressed his satisfaction at the progress of players, and the overall pace at which the game is developing, though he admitted that there’s still much to be done: “injuries were at a minimum, the quality of play has improved massively, we showed levels of physicality that I’ve not seen in the two-and-half years or so that I’ve been around. We saw fitness levels which have improved rapidly although again, not quite where I want it to be. I want Ghana rugby to have levels of fitness that are global.”
He also disclosed steps that the union is taking to ensure that we sustain Africa’s positive perception of Ghana rugby’s professionalism, including administrative apparatus in the area of compliance and governance, accounting, statistics and data.
Finally, on the mental requirement of the game, he emphasized the essence of spirit and resilience to success: “rugby is a character issue. Winners are made not from natural talent but from character. Who’s prepared to dig in where the odds are against you? Who’s prepared to fight when it seems as though you’re going to lose. Whose instinct, based upon training and discipline can take you to the next point?”.