20 February 2001

Ghana: Sports Minister Gets Fans In Parliament

Accra — Mallam Yusuf Isa, the Minister for Youth and Sports was last Thursday applauded in parliament when president Kufuor touched on sports during his sessional address.

In his speech the president said his government would encourage young people to channel their energies into useful ventures. He said sports has always provided an outlet for even the most disadvantaged to excel, adding that his government will support all sport activities in the country.

Before he ended that sentence the entire house shouted, 'Mallam, Mallam, all inclusive'. Sitting amongst the NPP parliamentarians, Mallam Isa acknowledged the cheers and waved back.

Some sports fans had earlier said they were not impressed with Mallam's performance at the probe and wished he was not approved. But the appointments committee gave him the nod. And last Thursday Mallam strode confidently into parliament house as a minister, having been sworn into office the previous day. One thing that works for Mallam is that what he lacks in academia he probably makes for in his ability to draw crowd. That probably influenced Kufuor's decision to give him the job.

Mallam Isa's nomination as Minister for Youth and Sports designate generated public debate on his capabilities to manage the ministry, and football in particular which draws a lot of passion.

But sources close to the president said he has confidence in him and stood by him till parliament approved him.

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