The year 2018 will go down in annals of Ghana’s sports history, as one of the most challenging, considering the various scandals, that has hit various sports disciplines.
Football for instance, has virtually been on a shut-down, with series of eventful happenings which triggered a backlash in the football fraternity as to the way forward.
The biggest scandal to rock the football cycles, is certainly the “Number 12” documentary which exposed the corrupt and bribery practices in Ghana football.
This ended the 13-years reign of the pillar and rock of Ghana’s football, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, who has chalked numerous successes, during his reign, but Anas Aremeyaw Anas, shattered his dreams of reaching greater heights in the World football.
There has been arguments in the sports fraternity as to whether the expose, has been a blessing or a curse? We certainly have the positives ever since the Number 12, expose surfaced in June, but has also come along with some negatives which people believe has marred the reputation of Ghana as a sporting nation.
The downfall of the Nyantakyi led administration, led to the formation of the Normalisation Committee, who are currently steering the affairs of the football in country and also providing the roadmap to help Ghana reclaim its status as great footballing nation on the Africa continent.
There was a general feeling among the Ghanaians that, the Black Queens would win the first continental trophy at this year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, but was dealt a huge blow, after shock exit from the group stages still lingers in the heart of football loving fans.
The dream of host and win, turned out to be a disaster, which left pain and agony in hearts of football fans, after the poor outing by the Black Queens.
Australian visa scandal
The scandal was one the biggest to hit the sporting landscape with Ghanaian “journalists”, who went for coverage of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, unable to do so, as they were returned home.
This scandal saw the suspension of top government appointees suspended, whilst the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), has since been conducting investigations into the matter.
Later, some officials have been exonerated with the many enthusiasts, calling for the release of the substantive report but the President seems not perturbed.
The Black Stars could possibly be the brightest spot for the country, this year having qualified to next year Africa Cup of Nations, despite their shock defeat to Kenya in the qualifiers.
Ghana’s absence at the 2018 World Cup staged in Russia, was certainly a huge setback, having qualified for three previous tournaments.
The rejuvenated Black Stars would be looking for a good outing at the Africa Cup of Nation outing in 2019, as they target their fifth continental trophy for more than 36 years.
Junior national teams
The Black Maidens, where hoping to make it out of the group stages at this year’s World Cup in Uruguay, but their shock first round exit was a huge blow to the nation.
Abdulai Mukarama, who happens to be the brightest spot in the team eventually won the Golden Boot and earned her a nomination as the best Africa Women Footballer of the year.
The Black Starlets, couldn’t qualify to the U-17 Championship, after missing out to Nigeria on penalties in the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) tournament in Niger.
On the other hand, the Black Satellites have qualified to the Africa Youth Championship and would be looking to secure qualification to the Youth World Cup, having won the title back in 2009.
The year started on a good note with Isaac Royal Storm Dogboe wining the World Boxing Organisation Super Batamweight title after defeating Jessie Magdaleno.
He continued his relentless form into the ring, by knocking Japanese Boxer Hidenori Otake in his first title defence, but he was crushed by Emanuel Navarrete who took the title from him.
Nevertheless, Dogboe has won the hearts of many Ghanaians and the announcement of rematch with Naverrette later in the year, is good news to the boxing entourage as he seeks to reclaim his title from the ruthless Mexican.
After being stripped of his IBO title earlier in the year, Tagoe staged a magnificent comeback, when he defeated Paulus Moses and is in a pole position for a chance to fight for a World Title bout in 2019.
World Title Prospects
Richard Commey, Manyo Plange, Duke Micah as well former Champion Dogboe have a big year ahead, to put Ghana on the World stage, by winning titles in their respective weight divisions.
The “Least Financed Sports” as they refereed to, in the sporting circles has been marred with internal wrangling for power and positions.
Other sporting disciplines like Armwrestling, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Cycling, among others, have had a remarkable year having laurels for the country in Africa and beyond.
The court, has been a place for the settlement of disputes, with the National Sports Authority and Ministry of Youth and Sports unable to deal with instability among the federations.
2019 will be a big year for Ghana sports, as we target to reclaim our status as big sporting nation on the continent and win more laurels for the country.