Football here, football there, football everywhere. The 2014 edition of the World Cup is over, the African Cup of Nations qualifying games have already begun, the women’s U-20 World Cup is days away and various football leagues across the globe will soon begin.
Fellow sports lovers, football is indeed popular and people follow the game with lots of passion. However, there are other games aside from football.
There are games and competitions that involve many countries and athletes than any football competition can accommodate—these include the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.
Today, I bring to you the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3, 2014.
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations.
The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years except 1942 and 1946 due to World War II.
The games are described as the third largest multi-sport event in the world, after the Olympic Games and the Asian Games.
Although there are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, 71 teams participate in the Games as a number of British overseas territories, Crown dependencies, and island states compete under their own flag.
The four nations that make up the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) also participate as separate independent teams.
The games include all Olympic sports including lawn bowls and netball. Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales are the only six countries to have participated in all the games.
There will be 71 participating nations at this year’s games with approximately 4,900 competing athletes, making it one of the largest Commonwealth Games ever.
Africa will be represented by 18 countries. What other events apart from the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics would offer Africa such huge representation? Although our focus is more on football, the Commonwealth Games offer a diversity of athletes the opportunity to showcase their strengths in various sporting disciplines.
Africa has never hosted the Commonwealth Games. Nigeria came close as host of this year’s games, but lost out to Scotland in a secret vote after the two nations bid for the right to host. Glasgow had 47 votes, while Abuja had 24, denying Africa the right to host the competition for the first time.
Ghana competed in its first Commonwealth Game in 1954 and has won a total of 51 medals in 13 Commonwealth Games so far.
The West African country will be represented by over 100 athletes who will compete in both new and old sports such as boxing, athletics, weightlifting, fencing, table tennis, swimming and others.
In every competition, the nation wins a medal and hopefully, more will be won this year. Why the local media is quiet about the games that has a potential to wipe our World Cup shame is something I cannot understand.
We are fixated with football, but quick to judge and blame the government for not promoting lesser known sports. As the media and as a people, what do we do in our own small way to support other sporting disciplines?
The media has the platform to create awareness about the games to people who have no idea such an event is taking place, but tune into sports programs and football is all we talk about.
Unlike the World Cup, the games may not receive the attention it deserves. But hopefully, Ghana will end up with some medals.
The athletes in Glasgow are in the competition to represent the nation, just as some 23 athletes represented the nation in the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
Will the athletes in Glasgow receive the same attention and treatment like the Black Stars did especially with gargantuan bonuses?
Let the games begin.