OK so I arrived in Accra, the Ghanaian capital late afternoon on Tuesday 7 January 2020 on secondment from my home institution, Abertay University Dundee. The arrival happened to coincide with the maiden celebration of the Constitution Day in Ghana, as well as something that seemed to captivate my attention – i.e. youth development through sports.
Prior to my African scholarly adventure, little did I know that my arrival would coincide with two major events. The Constitution Day 2020 in Ghana and the 2020 Ghana University Sports Association (GUSA) Games hosted by the University of Ghana, which also happened to be my host institution.
The Theme of the 2020 GUSA is one I would return to “Integrating Sports into Academia for Youth Empowerment and Development.” For now, however, here is some context.
Currently in its 26th edition, the 2020 GUSA Games is a 17-day event, which runs between 3-19 January 2020. In all eleven (11) universities are competing (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST; University for Development Studies, UDS; University for Health and Allied Science, UHAS; Ghana Institute of Journalism; Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA); George Grant University of Mines and Technology, University of Education Winneba; University of Professional Studies; and the University of Energy and Natural Resource) in twelve (12) disciplines (football, basketball, volleyball, netball, hockey, badminton, tennis and athletics) among others.
The opening ceremony took place on 4 January 2020 to great aplomb.
At its official launch, Dr Bella Bello Bitugu, Director of Sports at the University of Ghana assured a world-class hosting of the event. According to him:
“We are very happy and looking forward to these games and we are really getting ready towards it because we want to host games that reflect the standard of a world-class university so we look forward so much. I don’t think we have so many challenges or difficulties.”
Having won the event for a record 4th consecutive times, the University of Cape Coast (UCC) are set to face stiffer competition from the University of Ghana who are aiming for a host-and-win. However, Dr. Bella Bitugu, Director of Sports at the University of Ghana (UG), does not believe in the mantra of “host and win” in competitions, but believes that the idea of hosting and winning competitions at all cost was not part of his philosophies. As he reportedly pointed out on the idea of hosting and winning competitions at all cost:
“UG had no intention of host and win for this year’s GUSA Games, but rather provide an avenue for young people to unearth their talents” rather “Our main aim is to develop and help young talented athletes, and give them competitive spirit for future international games…”
I was privileged to witness the clash between the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) team as they took on the Kumasi based Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Recall the theme for this year’s event? “Integrating Sports into Academia for Youth Empowerment and Development.” Ultimately, while Knowledge might be Power, Sports is a “Power broker”.
I’m still loving the opportunity of working on the ManaGlobal Project on secondment from my home institution, Abertay University Dundee.