Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) President Ben Nunoo Mensah has blamed an “over-focus” on negative news stories for a lack of funding across African sport.
According to Ghana News Agency , he made the comments during a speech at the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) Africa Congress in Accra.
“In a continent where funding of sports has always been a challenge to most Governments our next surest bet for funding for our sports, are the corporate entities,” he is quoted as saying.
“But these corporate entities will want returns on their investments, returns not only by way of medals but more important to them, is returns in mileage and visibility for the sponsorship brand, and it is the media who give mileage to the sponsors.
“In most African countries we tend to brand our sports with the five per cent negative news and leave out the 95 per cent good things happening in the sports.
“No sponsor will want its product to be associated with a bad brand.”
Continuing, Mensah suggested that by giving “visibility” to sponsors, sports journalists could help save sport in Africa.
“In a very politically-biased environment as we have in most African countries, sports is the only medium that unites the people and we must keep it as such.
“There can never be any human institution or body without faults or challenges, but do we want to throw away the baby with the bath water?
“Our over-focus on the five per cent shortcomings or failures in sports is gradually killing the interest of sponsors in sports and will eventually kill sports journalism, because when our sports is starved of funding, it will die and there will not be anything to talk or write about.”
Mensah did not reference any specific events in his speech, but recent bad news stories from African sport include the murder of a Ghanaian journalist who helped expose corruption across African football and the stripping of Cameroon as host of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations due to a lack of preparations.
Ahmed Hussein-Suale was shot dead in Accra in January after making his name as part of a team whose investigation forced the resignation of the former head of the Ghana Football Association and former FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Shortly before Suale’s death, Ghanaian politician Kennedy Agyapong called for retribution against him, calling him “very dangerous” and asking people to beat him if they saw him.
There is also a corruption trial ongoing against several former members of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya and an ongoing row between the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the country’s Government regarding SASCOC’s governance structure.