The Youth Employment Agency (YEA), a governing body which provides job opportunities for the youth of Ghana, will provide financial support for 1,000 athletes who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.
According to Justin Kodua, CEO of YEA, they will disburse funds to 500 athletes from the Ghana Football Association (GFA), along with 400 and 100 beneficiaries from the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and National Paralympic Committee (NPC), respectively.
Kodua explained that athletes enrolled in the module will receive a monthly allowance of GH500 for the next six months. This, he said, could be extended after the current contract ends.
“We want to come to the aid of these athletes who have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kodua told BoxingAfrica.com. “The module covers only athletes and we will ensure they are the sole beneficiaries.
“The monies will be paid to them directly so we have asked the National Sports Authority (NSA) to compile a list of beneficiaries for us to commence payment. We will not hesitate to cancel the entire module if we find out that non-athletes are on the list.”
However, the President of the GOC, Ben Nunoo Mensah, says the NSA should allow federation heads to compile the list for the YEA in order to avoid any manipulation.
“We all have a role to play to ensure the contract goes as planned to financially boost our athletes. This is a good initiative by the YEA and it will be bad to see the contract cancelled due to manipulation,” he told BoxingAfrica.com.
The NSA boss, Prof. Peter Twumasi, believes the various sporting federations must show leadership with respect to these lists to avoid controversy.
“I think the federation heads must be diligent in submitting names of athletes for the enrollment. We are in support to allow them select the beneficiaries themselves,” Twumasi noted.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Boxing Federation (GBF), an amateur arm of boxing in the country, wants to apply for over 30 fighters to benefit from the YEA initiative.
The GBF falls under the GOC and would therefore be a part of the 400 slots reserved for the Olympic body.
The amateur boxing list includes Olympic-bound Samuel Takyi, Abubakar Quartey, Faruzatu Osman, Shakul Samed and Abdul Wahid Omar. All are members of the Black Bombers, the national team, and participated at the Olympic qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal, last February.
GBF President George Lamptey said the YEA module will focus solely on amateur fighters without any source of income.
According to Lamptey, amateur boxers, such as Black Bombers captain Sulemana Tetteh and Jessie Lartey, do not qualify to benefit from the module since they have sources of income.
“Samuel Takyi will be included in the list because he doesn’t earn a living outside boxing,” Lamptey told BoxingAfrica.com. “I expect this support to cushion the fighters in this difficult time. I believe it is one of the best modules to have come to the aid of athletes in recent times.”
Takyi, an expected beneficiary of the module, is relishing the support from YEA and expects payment to commence as soon as possible.
“It is a good step in the right direction for us and I welcome it,” said Takyi. “I can’t wait for the payment to commence because it will help us a lot in this period.
“For instance, the support will go a long way to prepare me psychologically towards the Olympic Games next year.”