Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) President Ben Nunoo Mensah has emphasised the importance of the funding and branding of sports after it was revealed earlier this year that the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) has set aside $1 million (£765,000/€887,000) to support all elite athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
ANOCA launched a programme aimed at assisting African countries to improve their medal haul at Tokyo 2020 in February.
Its President Mustapha Berraf was present at a workshop in Burkina Faso held as part of the initiative.
Berraf, elected ANOCA President in November, opened the workshop titled "The Road to Tokyo 2020".
The Algerian vowed to provide countries with support to help them achieve medal success.
This will include the $1 million backing from ANOCA, with the organisation having voted to provide the funding.
It is hoped the fund will support athletes from the continent to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
The fund is also designed to help motivate athletes to win medals, it is claimed.
Speaking at the sixth edition of the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) Africa Congress in Ghana’s capital Accra, Mensah described Ghana’s national under-23 football team as one of Africa’s main medal hopefuls for Tokyo 2020.
Next year’s Games will come 28 years after Ghana secured Africa’s first Olympic medal in football at Barcelona 1992.
On the AIPS Africa Congress' theme of "New Sports Journalism in Africa - Finding the Right Mix", Mensah touched on funding and branding of sports, and the role that journalists play in the development of sports in Africa.
The President of GOC at the AIPS AFRICA Congress.— Team Ghana🇬🇭 (@GhanaOlympic) April 6, 2019
"ANOCA Tokyo 2020 commission will work with all the various National Olympic Committees in Africa to ensure preparation by all our elite athletes are properly coordinated to maximize our medal hall at the Games" @anoca_v pic.twitter.com/04nNoai6p4
"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," Mensah was reported as saying by Modern Ghana.
"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 sponsoring brand, and it is the media who give mileage to the sponsors.
"In most African countries, we turn 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.
"In a very politically-bias environment as we have in most African countries, sport 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 bathwater?
"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."
ANOCA has also vowed to hold a training camp for athletes from Africa to assist their qualification for the Games, taking place over a three-month period.
Only four countries from Africa won Olympic gold medals at Rio 2016.
The most successful country were Kenya.
They won a total of 13 medals, including six gold, all in athletics, to place 15th overall.
South Africa won 10 medals, two of them gold.
Ethiopia and Ivory Coast each won one gold medal.