Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"Hockey fever where are you?"

Who's drumming up the passion?

As I write this, I can count on my stubby fingers the number of times I have heard any news item(s) on the impending Hockey Africa Cup for Nations Ghana 2009. It's scheduled to be held from July 10 - 18. I might be mistaken, but how much do you know of the coming event?

If I remember correctly, not a day passed us by without an update on the CAN 2008 in the run-up to that terrific football festival. It was to the credit to all Ghanaians and especially the Dr. Kofi Amoah and Rex Danquah-led Local Organizing Committee that the event was unanimously agreed to be the 'best African Nations Cup ever' by many of the world's major media houses.

Fast forward one year and the same Rex Danquah is in the thick of affairs. Yet, we cannot feel any of the hype that we are used to seeing in the build-up to major sporting events. Nobody can blame the media for not doing their job of information dissemination. Let's face it, the sporting audience out there is football-biased and so it would take a creative spark to pique their interest in the game of hockey.

Obviously, those who are very glad that the 13th African Nations' cup is coming to this town are few, honestly. Apart from morality-chanting journalists, the government's politicians and those benefiting directly monetarily from the hosting of the event, the average Ataa Lartey or Koku Ghana does not give a toss about when or who would be at the tournament.

Now, to those whose job it is to do the job, hear this. You are making a feeble attempt at justifying the trust the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the African Hockey Federation (AHF) put in you for hosting this tournament.

How much do you know of the coming Hockey Nations Cup?

To say that the media are not stakeholders in this LOC is spewing froth.

The names included in the Media subcommittee of the LOC reads like the All Star XI of Ghanaian sports journalism and allied fields: Kofi Owusu Aduonum (the Chronicle), Charles Osei-Asibey (Happy FM), Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah (Oxigen), Veronica Commey-Mensah (Ghana News Agency), Daniel Kenu (Graphic Sports) and Ken Ashiebey (Metro TV). Want more? Well, if you insist, then here you go: Kwame Essah, Neil Armstrong-Mortagbe, Charles Osei Asibey, Kwaku Owusu Adoumi, and Kofi Aggrey.

There is simply no excuse for the dearth of information we have concerning what is going on in the LOC. The last anyone really heard was that the contractors billed to finish the Theodosia Okoh pitch promised to finish the project on time. Compare that, again, to CAN 2008. There was even a 'Road to CAN 2008' sort of programme bombarding us with evertything we needed to know. Fatefully, that programme was hosted by Mr Ampofo-Ankrah and Ms Commey, all part of the LOC. And, before you forget that, it is the same Rex Danquah who was the same Chief Operating Officer.

So if they could put together such a wonderful media blitz at the time, what in the name of all things bright stops them from doing it again? Or is it because it is hockey? Friends, hockey deserves better. Maybe we ought to be refreshed on what pride the noble sport has also brought to this nation. That would be in a later feature.

I am reliably informed that certain press events have been pegged for LATER dates. Well, I have a problem with that. Ghana is not a hockey nation so we have to do it now! That is why I am a bit concerned that the LOC has not officially met editors of the sports media to get their hand in spreading the Gospel of Hockey while we wait for the tournament to begin. There is a lot to rant about but let's save the rest for the coming weeks.

Before I leave you let me say this: until I can feel the hype in the media, I'll keep asking: "Hockey fever, where are you?"