Friday, February 26, 2010

Why CAF’s $1.5 million prize money is just not enough

orange_Champions_LeagueGary argues that the money given at the end of Africa’s grueling continental club competition is inadequate for the finances of many Ghanaian – and African – teams.

The CAF Champions League is one of the longest running continental club competitions in world football. It first started out as the African Champions Cup in 1964, before it was redesigned to its current format in 1997.

In between this period, there were hardly any sponsors for the tournament and no prize money was paid to the clubs. They were mainly motivated by the quest for sporting glory and prestige as well.

Since the continent's leading club competition took on its present format where the eight top teams qualifying for the money-spinning group phase then go onto a knockout semi-final and a final played over two legs, however, the overall winners are guaranteed prize money of a million US dollars.

In September last year, the CAF Executive committee put this amount up by 50% beginning from this year's edition of the annual tournament. This was possible because of the appointment of Orange, the new title sponsors for the competition.

Admittedly, CAF have taken positive steps forward since Issa Hayatou took over the leadership of the organisation in 1988. Yet, it must be said that despite the many strides of CAF in all these years, the organisation have fallen far short in the marketing of their commercial rights, as I wrote in my last piece.

Like its sister football confederations, CAF rely on an exclusive marketing agent to sell their commercial properties. But there have been allegations of compromises on the part of the leadership CAF in respect of this partnership.

One would have expected that CAF would be transparent about their sponsorship earnings, making public all the details of how much a sponsor has committed to their various competitions and events. But that has not been the case and this has fuelled more speculation that a lot of money meant for football in Africa is being paid under the table into private pockets.

Better marketing would mean more money for CAF and more money for the clubs and the players.

Officials are often quick to argue that CAF are lagging far behind the likes of Asia Football Federation (AFC) and the European Football Union (UEFA) because the African economy cannot compare with that of those continents.

Yet, the difference between these continents is, for want of a better word, annoying.

The problem

Money matters have always been a focal point of managing football clubs everywhere. Recent headlines of Portsmouth FC in England staring administration in the face makes for grim reading and the sad thing is that this phenomenon is being replicated all around the world. In Ghana, we have a football financial crisis of our own.

For the past several seasons, monetary issues have meant that the teams that finished in the top four places of our country’s elite league have played checkers with taking part in African club competitions.

This weekend sees Asante Kotoko play ASC Linguere, a Senegalese team, in the second leg of their Caf Champions League competition. They need to win by a good scoreline but they are not only fighting for their place on the field. They desperately need a good win to help them get into the so-called ‘Money Zone’.

Getting into this year’s continental competitions itself was a problem for Ghana’s teams. For example, despite finishing second in last season’s league, the Kumasi-based side nearly dropped out because their financial projections showed that they simply could not foot the bill for playing in the tournament.

Kotoko were only bailed out by an undisclosed amount given them by the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA). Sources say the dosh was $20,000. Whether that amount can take them far enough in the competition is another issue.

Many Ghanaian clubs are in serious debt as we speak and are only operating because of reasons of stature, who-you-know and benevolence from their debtors. Conservative estimates say that Hearts of Oak are in debts accruing to about GH¢2.7 million (just under 2 million dollars).

Going into African club competitions means airfares, hotel costs, player and technical team allowances and many more. As Ghana’s only representative on the continent, even if Kotoko should win the African Champions league, the money they would make is just $1.5 million.

Let’s put this amount into perspective. When Kotoko left Ghana on February 10 for their first leg game in Senegal, their spending totaled so much more than the $20,000 they were given by GHALCA. Now, multiply these figures by the number of times Kotoko would travel outside Ghana if they should get to the final of this year’s Champions League. That brings you to far more than the $1.5 million. Sources have revealed that the $20,000 stipend from GHALCA only covered the costs of the Senegal trip a fortnight ago.

Later, you may be reading about how much Hearts of Oak wanted to spend on this year’s CAF Champions League and why they were thwarted.


UEFA pay each team that qualifies for the Champions League €3 million Euros plus another €2.4 million for reaching the group phase. A group stage win is worth €600,000 and a draw is worth €300,000.

In addition, UEFA pay each quarterfinalist €2.5 million, €3 million for each semi-finalist, €4 million for the runners-up and €7 million for the winners.

In Asia, the total budget for the 2009/2010 Champions League is $20 million. Of that, 70 per cent is dedicated to prize money and incentives, with the eventual winners taking home $1.5 million plus bonuses from earlier rounds. A victory in the group stages will be worth $40,000.

On face value, a million dollars is a small fortune, but when one computes the cost of travel across Africa for a club, as well as the ever-rising costs of running such a club, this cash prize is already overdrawn before a club has played its final group matches.

Before you say we should not compare apples with oranges, do not forget that Africa also has some of the biggest companies in the world, spread over varied business interests and who will love to be involved with African football. So why don’t they like to do so? The answer is simple: too much stress with getting CAF involved with the various competitions.

Just as an example, the annual budget for a ‘Top 4’ club in Ghana is around one to two million dollars. This is to cover their travel and boarding within the country, as well as the general running of the club - players' salaries and bonuses, hiring of match venues, taxes, medical expenses, indemnities for referees, among other expenditure.

South African clubs have been known to withdraw or show less enthusiasm for the competition, because one of their several local tournaments earn them far more than they would get featuring in the CAF Champions League.

Generally, most clubs have, therefore, in the past 12 years operated deficit budgets to compete in the Champions League and one would then have expected that their patience and perseverance would have been better rewarded by the competition organisers with a cash prize far in excess of the $1.5 million that this year's Champions League winners will receive.

Officials complain of the football talent drain from Africa, but if they cannot help to improve the working conditions on the continent through such measures like better remuneration for the clubs, African players will prefer to take up the slave contracts that are pushed at some of them in Europe and beyond.

What to do
The current holders of the CAF Champions League, TP Mazembe, had a budget of $5 million last year and this year it's now $10 million. How can you reconcile that with the prize money?

Currently, CAF’s charges for the prize money from television and marketing revenue was ratcheted up recently from a total of US $3.5 million to some US $5 million and for me, the amount given to the winner out of this total should be increased. After all, it is they who do the travelling and the playing.

Secondly, where are all the sponsors who pump money into the African Nations’ Cup? Basic rules of marketing dictate that if CAF decides to give them a good deal, they can extend the sponsorship packages to the Champions League (and all other CAF competitions for that matter.)

Finally, the final destination of all the money CAF accumulates in every fiscal year beggars belief. This is certainly not a hasty generalization, for there are facts. CAF's financial report, released ahead of their congress in Luanda during Angola 2010, said the organisation had an operating profit of $939,000 over the last financial year and a cash balance of $18.8 million.

Are we seriously saying that out of all these figures in addition to sponsorship deals for the various CAF events are not enough to pay winners of CAF competitions at least $5 million?

It’s a pity we do not have access to CAF’s financial books - it should make for some very grim reading.

This feature also appeared on Ghana WCB

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Which young players should we watch at 2010 World Cup?

FIFA loves awards. And the money the sponsors attach to them. The latest one to come out of Zurich is the Hyundai Best Young Player award.

According to FIFA, it's been created to recognize the impact made by young footballers to their first FIFA World Cup. We've seen a great many good young players come out of the four-yearly showpiece. From Pele in 1958 to Lukas Podolski in 2006 and many others in between, the world has seen some truly remarkable guys come out of the mundial.

The Hyundai Best Young Player will be announced before the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, with a Hyundai Tucson 35 ix given to the award winner.

Ghana would be in South Africa this year and I'm wondering if any of our lads can win this award. Of course winning this award is highly dependent on the entire team's progress so this means that we have to get to at least the quarters or semis.

At the moment my picks from our current Stars team would be Kwadwo Asamoah, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Dominic Adiyiah and Andre Ayew.

About the Award
The award will be presented to the player who creates the biggest impact in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Judges will be looking for certain qualities such as technical skill, style and charisma but also other important facets such as a sense of fair play and a genuine impression that they are playing Merely For The Love Of The Game.

Selecting a player
The FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) takes the following criteria into account when selecting the Hyundai Best Young Player: Exceptional skills, Youthful and refreshing playing style, Creativity and inspiration, tactical maturity and efficiency, fan recognition as a result of entertaining performances, role models for young players, positive attitude - fair play.

What young player would make the most impact at South Africa 2010? I'm sure names like David Silva (Spain), Marek Hamsik (Slovakia), Mesut Ozil (Germany) would come up ...

(Thanks to for the info)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

AFCON 2012 Draw is out minus Togo.

The draw for the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations which will be staged by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon was conducted in Lubumbashi today by the Confederation for African Football (CAF).

Forty-four teams will take part in the qualifying series that begins in September. But only 14 will book a berth to the continental showpiece.

The sides have been drawn into eleven groups of four and will each play each other in a round-robin format. The winners of each group will qualify automatically for what will be the 28th edition of the AFCON while the three best second placed teams will also make it. Equatorial Guinea and Gabon qualify automatically as co-hosts. The groups in full:

Group 1: Mali, Cape Verde, Zimbabwe, Liberia
Group 2: Nigeria, Guinea, Ethiopia, Madagascar
Group 3: Zambia, Mozambique, Libya, Comoros
Group 4: Algeria, Morocco, Tanzania, Central Africa Republic
Group 5: Cameroon, Senegal, Congo DR, Mauritius
Group 6: Burkina Faso Gambia Namibia Mauritania
Group 7: Egypt, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Niger
Group 8: Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Rwanda, Burundi
Group 9: Ghana, Congo, Sudan, Swaziland
Group 10: Angola, Uganda, Kenya, Guinea-Bissau
Group 11: Tunisia, Malawi, Chad, Botswana

I'm sure you noticed there is no Togo. That's because the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will soon come to a (positive, I hope) decision on whether it will upheld CAF’s ban of Togo from the next two editions of the competition. If CAS should rule in Togo’s favour in the case, CAF has confirmed that there is no material obstacle for a new draw to take place before qualifying gets underway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why are the AFCON rights so expensive?

Gary asks why Africa’s own homegrown Nations’ Cup has been so overpriced that many African countries are suffering to watch their own event.

This article is the same as the one on Ghana World Cup Blog but a slightly edited form of a longer one I wrote on Myjoyonline and in Ghana's Business and Financial Times.

Angola 2010 has come and gone and we now know the winners and know the losers on the pitch. Yet, there were hundreds of millions of losers in homes across Africa who wanted to see their teams play but could not.

Before the start of the tournament, many people in homes across Africa were not sure if they could take part in the tournament. The cost of broadcasting rights had soared to the high heavens and had threatened to leave several African Nations out of the football fun that was in Angola 2010. Ghana was nearly one of these.

Many readers may not be aware that but for the timely intervention of the Government of Ghana, we would not have seen the tournament on free-to-air TV and the joy (or pain, depending on how to you see it) of placing second would have been lost on the populace.

In the past year or so, three Ghanaian television stations – the state-owned Ghana Television (GTV), TV3 and Metropolitan Entertainment Television (Metro TV) - have successfully joined forces in a consortium to buy rights for major FIFA tournaments to show to viewers. That is how they were able to show the FIFA Confederations’ Cup in South Africa, the Under 20 FIFA World Cup in Egypt and the Under 17 FIFA World Cup in Nigeria.

Naturally, we expected the same to be the case for Angola 2010. What happened was that the consortium resorted to the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB, formerly known as URTNA) to secure broadcast rights for the Angola showpiece. The stations could not foot the whopping US$ 1.5 million quoted by right owners AFNEX LC2.

At the time, Ken Ashigbey, General Manager of Optimum Media Prime, who fronted for the consortium said: “We have spoken with AUB and I am very hopeful that we will be able to tie the deal in the shortest possible time."

Yet even with this point, he went on to hit the nail on the head on a salient issue: "The US$1.5 million is on a high side for the Ghanaian economy and many economies in Africa especially will struggle to find the money. We have told them there is unity in strength and because this is an African event, it is imperative that Africans are given the right to watch the tournament and enjoy it."

Ghana was among the lucky few whose governments stepped in to offset the costs. Tunisia was not so lucky so they did not watch a single game on free-to-air and had to make do with coverage from digital and cable TV.

The crux of my beef with the rights holders is this: why do we have to fight every time the Africa Cup of Nations is played? Why is there an unseemly tussle over the cost of rights?

The sales agent for the event is LC2-AFNEX and it names unrealistic prices for buying the rights. A good many African broadcasters are resigned to despair and do not even try to foot the bill which is, frankly, outrageous. At the last minute, some get Government funding (like Ghana did) to help and annoyingly, LC2 accepts a lower price.

All this happens weeks or days before the Nations Cup starts and that means that promoting the event in the run-up to kickoff is lost. If you recall the adverts for Angola 2010 started rolling rather late on the screens. Metro TV started running promos on the 3rd of January, just seven days to the start of the event! Anyone in broadcasting would tell you this is unacceptable because you then give viewers little time to mentally prepare for the event. I feel there is a better way to help African football and broadcasting to help each other grow.


The problem
The organizers of the Africa Cup of Nations are the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the biennial event dubbed Angola 2010 is the 27th time it has been played. CAF sells the rights to broadcast the event's matches to a company called LC2-AFNEX which through LC2 Medias is owned by LC2 TVNETELECOM.
The latter is a Beninois company launched in 1997 that also does regional Pay TV and has recently got into Internet TV. It got its first contract to sell the event in 2003. AUB is supposed to assist the process and support it with a marketing plan.

However, in effect, the AUB has become implicated in the whole process of trying to get extremely high rights fees out of African broadcasters. The issue has been a running sore for many years so when Larry Atiase, the AUB's CEO wrote to broadcasters – including Ghana – on 30 December 2009 he attempted to strike a conciliatory note. Atiase said the fees have been segmented into different groups. Under the reference ‘AUB/LC2 -- AFNEX Final Proposal, AFCON 2010 broadcast rights’, Atiase wrote:

"I have the pleasure to inform you that AUB/LC2-AFNex negotiations on AFCON 2010 broadcast rights have led to proposals indicated below:

afcon figures

“AUB and LC2-AFNEX have agreed on the importance of reducing rights fees to enable the broadcasting organizations in all African countries to broadcast the matches.

"Both organizations have also agreed henceforth to work together to find ways and means of further reducing the broadcast right fees for the 2012, 2014 and 2016 African Cup of Nations, including sustaining the AUB marketing plan. Consequently, your organization is requested to confirm its participation in the coverage of AFCON 2010 in writing to AUB secretariat while granting the Union three minutes of airtime as well as pay the broadcast rights fee latest on the 7th of January 2010.
"AUB will present a report on the utilization of airtime granted by member organizations to reduce the cost of broadcast rights fees."

This is what Atiase wrote to broadcasters around Africa but as happens every time, there were winners and losers in the Africa Cup of Nations rights farce.

The Nigeria Television Authority put up the money to secure the 28 live matches and all subsequent tournament matches through to 2014. NTA's zonal director, Yusuf Jibo said when it was announced that he was willing to work with other TV stations (by implication private sector ones) to increase match coverage. But this pitch was also carried an implicit threat as in the past there has been extensive pirating of transmissions and he wanted to avoid this by signing agreements in which it collects revenues.

By contrast, Zimbabwe's ZTV was unable to afford the €3.5 million (about US$5,047 million) for the matches to be beamed on the channel. According to ZBC Public Relations Manager, Sivukile Simango: "ZBC (the parent company of ZTV) does not have that kind of money to spend on a tournament which only lasts 22 days. The figure they are requesting is far much more than what we could afford."

He said the national broadcaster would rather use the money demanded by CAF to procure equipment such as an outside broadcasting van. He promised live match updates as a rather poor substitute for live coverage. The issue has been a subject of some controversy in the country because the World Cup screening rights have by contrast cost just US$75,000.

Kenya's KBC went on record as saying:" KBC, however, regrets that the costs of the TV rights for the tournaments are still too high as to make any socio-economic sense...most business companies and concerns are on end of year vacations and will resume on 11th January 2010. On account thereof it will be difficult to commercially exploit the events assuming that the cost was reasonable and agreeable. Consequently, KBC cannot, in the circumstances and given the onerous acquisition conditions, take the rights just like UBC (the Ugandan public broadcaster).

Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation also echoed these sentiments: "We at TBC totally support you and those of you who find the costs too high. We also cannot afford and the time has almost run out for soliciting any sponsors".

The NBC's Sackie Shikufa also said the same:"The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) regrets to inform you that due to the high price of the broadcast rights for this AFCON in Angola, NBC will not be able to broadcast the tournament. And I'm also concurring with my colleagues who expressed their concern about the high right fee".

According to Uganda's UBC's Sales Manager William Odoch"...we regret to let you know the UBC cannot afford the rights to air 2010 AFCON Angola. Our position was to retain the rates at the 2008 AFCON Ghana which is way over and above the quotation. We hope the rates will be more affordable next AFCON and in good time. UBC can now communicate its inability to afford the games and prepare Ugandans.”

Atiase said AUB had noted with concern the valid points raised by its members over the high fees but does not have the powers to reduce the fees since they are not the broadcast rights offer holders. In other words, the AUB is powerless to act as a negotiating party on behalf of others.

Instead the AUB made proposals that the following sponsors shall be given the right of first offer for 30 days: Orange, Standard Bank, Pepsi, Puma, Nasuba Express and Samsung. But this was probably too little, too late. Furthermore, although the AUB is talking about lowering the rights fees, it is only going to do this by trying to raise the sponsorship revenues. This does not address the central question of: why are the rights fees for Africa's homegrown tournament so overpriced?

Ridiculously, the broadcasters are also barred from the barter system where they can use what they have to get what they want.

The Botswana government reportedly approved state broadcaster, Botswana Television’s (Btv) request for funds to acquire the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) broadcasting rights but a blunder led to the games blackout. The state reportedly approved Btv's request for the broadcasting of the AFCON. Btv viewers were left in a lurch after the state broadcaster stopped the live transmission of games a day after kickoff. Payment was reportedly not made on time, resulting in the blackout on live coverage. The sum involved was US$4.8 million.

afcon media

African state broadcasters have tended to be the favoured party to sell rights to because they have wider coverage than their private sector peers. However, with notable exceptions, forward planning is not their strong skill. Therefore raising sponsorship takes place at the last minute. For its part, the rights holder waits until the last minute before signalling any last minute drops in price so as not to spoil the lucrative deals from those who can make the payments demanded.

Any number of things is wrong with how the current process works. The AUB is not an effective body to represent all broadcasters and private sector broadcasters are not getting the kind of "look in" they should. The sharing of rights in here Ghana is an interesting approach as it is difficult to imagine any single broadcaster clearing its schedule for all 28 matches across 22 days.

Indeed, the foresight of Ghana's GTV, TV3 and Metro TV coming together to form a consortium is quite novel and has been hailed across the African broadcasting sphere.

But the nub of the difficulty is CAF's attitude to the business: maximizing its income is not necessarily the best way to help develop an ecology of broadcasters, sponsors and fans to develop Africa's homegrown tournament. The rights are absurdly expensive and there is little evidence that the Confederation of African Football has done much as much as it could with the funds raised.

You do not have to be a soothsayer to know that African football is not where it is supposed to be. Please, do not even say that there is no money.

This article is the same as the one on Ghana World Cup Blog but a slightly edited form of a longer one I wrote on Myjoyonline and in Ghana's Business and Financial Times.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Should Quincy Abeyie be recalled to the Black Stars?

Not seeing him play at Spartak Moskow, I really did not know how to react to the shouts from some pals that Quincy Owusu-Abeyie should by all means be added to the team that played in Angola.

However, his performance yesterday for Pompey vs Southampton after he came on as a sub was enough to tweak my radar a bit. I am not joining the calls for his hasty inclusion just yet, but if he continues to play like this, ignoring him could be heretical.

This was a derby game and we know how those go around the world: loud, wild, passionate affairs. Pompey were on the back foot as they badly needed the win against Southampon. Sometime in the second half, Quincy was introduced by Avram Grant. Then, he does this:

So, it's 1-0 but it does not last as the goal is equalised. Suddenly, in the 75th minute, Quincy gets the ball in his part of the field, speeds (which is his trademark, mind you) into the opposition area, gives an unbelievable pass that beats two Southampton defenders, the ball falls to Aruna Dindane who finishes off nicely. 2-1. Here it is:

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Ten minutes later, he delivers the icing on the cake by setting up the final goal by Jamie O'Hara 85th minute. Portsmouth have thus advanced to the quarter-finals after the thrilling clash on Saturday. Here's the last assist:

 But where would he play?

If the current Black Stars squad is fully fit, I would automatically say Quincy should play in place of Haminu Draman, who has been given a lot of chances but has not grabbed with both hands. Quincy's speed alone may rival Draman's but more importantly his finishing has definitely improved while Draman's, as at the end of Angola 2010, was a freaking disaster that drove people up the walls.

Dropped for attitude issues, like Muntari?

So, should Quincy be considered or not? Some point to attitude problems. Unfortunately, it appears the talented guy may yet still have that fiery streak in him.

He was transferred to Russian club Spartak Moscow for an undisclosed fee in 2006 but he joined Spanish side Celta de Vigo on loan for the 2007–08 season and in the last window he joined Birmingham City on loan. However his attitude problems continued to persist.

In September 2008, he got on the wrong end of his Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish after his bad reaction to his substitution in a league game against Doncaster. The Black Stars man, who had won praise from McLeish in the past for his early performances went straight to the dressing room after he was substituted 39 minutes into the game.

McLeish said later: "I explained to him that you don't go to the dressing room, you support the team from the dug-out when you come off. I don't want to take a gifted player and say he has to defend for us but Wayne Rooney does it and the top players in the England team did it in the week. It is part of the modern game at the top level. We certainly give the players the fitness to do it, it is just the understanding he needs."

Although Quincy was apologetic to McLeish and his team mates his attitude problems emerged again when he was (later that year) called up to play for Ghana. The national coach, Milovan Rajevac, warned Quincy that he faced a long spell on the sidelines if he did not improve his attitude towards the national team.

Milo then excluded Quincy from the 22-man squad for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Lesotho in Sekondi. Why? Then 21-years at the time, Quincy was released by Birmingham well ahead of the previous month's qualifier against Libya, failed to join his colleagues in the national team until the last minute.

He claimed that he missed two scheduled flights to Tripoli for the game!

Rajevac said: "Quincy has not been dropped from the Black Stars forever but he must think about why he has been dropped as guidance for the future. Players must show that they are ready to die for the national team and his attitude before the Libya game was not good enough. He plays in United Kingdom along with Essien, Laryea Kingston and John Paintsil and they all managed to arrive in time but he opted to tell stories.”

So, I ask again, should he or shouldn't he be brought back into the fold, or is it past and we should forget it?

PS: He was released from Ajax (where he had been for nine years) at 16 years, because guessed it..."attitude problems."  Or maybe, just maybe, we're jumping the gun and overreacting.

Should Quincy Abeyie be recalled to the Black Stars?(online surveys)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Alisxta takes video gaming higher. Is gaming a sport btw?

Is video gaming a sport? Is it, really? Some people think so and others say 'of course not'. Whatever. Ghana has certainly embraced the gaming culture for many many years - I certainly have - but now it's being taken to a higher level.
It is estimated that $11.7 billion worth of video games were sold in 2008 worldwide. That’s almost the entire amount the whole of Ghana’s economy earned in that same year. So you wonder, why do the youth of Ghana play so many video games and yet we haven’t made any money at all from it?

All you see are young boys in street corner game centers and shacks playing their favorite console games like Xbox, PS3, Nintendo and so on. But last Saturday, a group of young entrepreneurs started what might just be the light at the beginning of Ghana’s video games revolution tunnel.

Alisxta Innovation put together the first ever National Qualifiers for video gaming in Ghana and the winner will play in the Electronic Sports World Cup 2010 (ESWC) in May at the Disney-Land in Paris, France.

My interest,- and this site of course - is in the football and it was just great to see the guys slugging it out like their lives depended on scoring the winning goal of FIFA 10.

Alisxta Spintex

According to Qwesi Amissah of Alisxta, the aim of the tournament series is to “use technology to bridge the gap between the Youth and National Development by cultivating their talents and competitive spirit. Our desire is to develop a professional E-sport environment which will cater for the future and well being of our players.”

Sounds good to me - anything to keep the kids off the streets and drugs.

Over a hundred enthusiastic young men thronged the Spintex Road for the first qualifier. Subsequent ones will be at Busy Internet (13 March and 17 April), University of Ghana (27 March). Alisxta also got help from the guys at Setmat, Vibe fm and LANTOUCH. Cool, really.

Games that are on to be slugged out include FIFA 10, Need For Speed Shift, Counter Strike, Virtua Tennis, Trackmania, Warcraft III, Street Fighter and so on. So. I ask you, is video gaming a sport and should it be recognized as such?

Do you consider video gaming a sport?(online surveys)