Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako - The Writer

By Ken Bediako

I may be conservative in my thinking but I strongly hold that our sporting heroes must be honoured and in a proper Hall of Fame.

This is a fine practice in many countries around the globe and there is no reason why Ghana should not emulate this beautiful concept.

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for this Hall of Fame concept because I was a member of a committee set up 19 years ago, 2004 to be precise, by Kwadwo Baah Wiredu then Minister in charge of sports to identify and honour Ghana’s sporting heroes, both administrators and practitioners. It is not my intention to blow my own horn but I would proudly say the committee did a thorough job in about 10 months and came out with a comprehensive report fittingly acknowledged by the Sports Minister.

The task to identify past sporting personalities and name some of them after sports facilities, structures and events, was duly accomplished.

This explains how we now have Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Azumah Nelson Sports Complex, Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Pitch, Robert Mensah Stadium at Cape Coast etc.

The Accra Stadium was named after Ohene Djan but there is controversy over this awaiting solution. The Sports hall is named after D.G. Hathiramani, the reputed “Table Tennis Servant of Ghana,”, the Press Centre after Mr Kofi Badu, arguably the greatest sports journalist Ghana has produced.

The Stadium Clinic was named after Dr Nkansa Gyane, the great advocate of Olympism and sports medicine. The Resource Centre was named after Mr H.P. Nyemitei one time GFA chairman affectionately called “Grey haired soccer philosopher.”

The Committee also recommended sporting events like Annual Mike Ahey National Athletic

Championship, Annual E.A Quaye National Table Tennis Championship and Annual Roy Ankrah National Amateur Boxing Championship.

This lofty Hall of Fame programme was formally launched by Mr Baah Wiredu at the plush Alisa Hotel in Accra on Nov 26 2004. He made it clear it was the vision of President Kufuor, himself a keen sports enthusiast, to show that Ghana is a nation that appreciates and celebrates her heroes.

It’s unfortunate that there seems to be lack of continuity at the Ministry of Sports. This honouring of our past sporting heroes must be a continuous process. The Hall of Fame concept must be pursued especially with the upcoming African Games that will promote sports tourism.

May I at this stage provide pen pictures of some of the first batch of sporting personalities selected for the Hall of Fame.

In a related development, I would like to recall once more that this year 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s first Afcon victory that catapulted us to eventually win the original Afcon Cup thrice and for keeps in 1978 having retained the cup in 1965.

In some jurisdictions Diamond Jubilee anniversaries are really cherished. That’s why I suggested some time ago that the GFA could add some more colour to this week’s Afcon match against Central African Republic in Kumasi by celebrating the four surviving legendary players of the 1963 Black Stars squad before kick-off.

To the best of my knowledge the four living legends are goalkeeper Dodoo Ankrah, Wilberforce Mfum, Osei Kofi and Leonard Acquah.

I feel strongly that these living veterans must be celebrated possibly during Ghana’s last home match for the Afcon qualifiers. This would definitely give the current generation of Black Stars some hope of national recognition in future.

It is my hope that fans will turn up in their numbers to cheer the Black Stars to a convincing victory at

the Baba Yara Stadium. I would love to see a sharp contrast in the attendance at the so-called champion of champions match between Medeama and Dreams at Cape Coast Stadium.

The stands were so empty you would think the GFA had ruled the match be played behind closed gates.

Bringing back fans to fill the stands is still a major puzzle to solve just like the race to be the FA President.

Well, as the saying goes. Time will tell.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.