Ministry Snubs Disabled Sports Team...As Ghana Pulls Out Of Wheelchair World Cup Qualifiers Over $10,700

Mr. Wilson Agbesi, the General Secretary of the Ghana Wheelchair Basketball Federation (GWBF), who is also the treasurer of the National Paralympics Committee (NPC), has lamented about the treatment being meted out to Paralympics sports and other sporting federations in the country other than male football.

According to Mr Agbesi, he finds it difficult to understand why the Ministry of Youth and Sports would ask the GWBF or the NPC to pull out of any international assignment because they could not foot the bill.

Pouring out his frustrations in an interview with the DAILY HERITAGE, the General Secretary said the national wheelchair basketball team, the Black Chariots, are expected to travel to South Africa to join seven participating countries from Africa for the African World Cup qualifiers of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) from Sunday, November 18, 2017 to Tuesday, November 28, 2017 and needs just $10,700 to make the trip.

But the Ministry of Youth and Sports has told the Chariots to forget about the trip because there is no money. What is more frustrating is that the Ministry has also told them to forget about the qualifiers because Paralympics sports are not yet developed in the country.

Mr Agbesi said the total budget is for a 17-man delegation expected to represent the country and covers accommodation, feeding, classification, internal transport and fine on late payment.

His worry is that multiples of the $10,700 needed for the assignment is earned by just one player in the senior national team, the Black Stars, during tournaments, bringing to the fore the neglect of so-called lesser sports.

A source close to the sports ministry further told the DAILY HERITAGE that the sports ministry was interested in rather paying the fine of $10,000 for the last minute pulling out of the competition than paying the $10,700 needed to participate in.

On Monday, officials of GWBF, the Black Chariots, NPC and the Deputy Director General of the National Sports Authority met with the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, to convince the ministry to re-consider its decision not to support the federation, but the ministry rejected the appeal.

According to sources at the meeting, the deputy minister said Paralympics sports were yet to develop so they should wait for next year.

“The minister is much interested in developing the game next year when they would give their maximum support to the federation but nothing was said about the trip.

“The national coach and the captain, who were also at the meeting, felt disappointed in the minister’s comments,” the source said.

In the view of Mr Agbesi, the IWBF would certainly write to the Ministry as it was not possible for Ghana to pull out at the last minute and that may convince the ministry to rescind its decision.

“If the Ministry receives that communication, they may re-consider their decision,” Mr Agbesi said.

According to him, the athletes who have trained for months for the competition have had their hopes dashed by the decision of the ministry.

Ghana is a signatory to the United Nations Convention for the right of persons with disability and the apparent neglect by the ministry would be seen as a slap in the face of the Convention.