Two state agencies, the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and the National Sports Authority (NSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend the 'Youth in Elite Sports for Ghana' programme for a further six months.
That will see beneficiaries of the government Covid-19 relief package for sports athletes continue to receive a monthly stipend of GH¢500 for the next six months.
The MoU was signed by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of YEA, Mr. Justin Kodua Frimpong and National Sports Authority (NSA), Professor Peter Kofi Twumasi and witnessed by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Mustapha Ussif.
Mr. Ussif expressed the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) appreciation to the two agencies, saying the gesture came about at the right time as Ghana prepares to host the Africa Games in 2023.
"It will no doubt support the athletes and put them in good position to prepare for the Games which we hope to win a lot of laurels for the country."
In his view, the absence of such supports have contributed to the failure to unearth talents like the Abedi Peles, Anthony Yeboahs, Azumah Nelsons, Ike Quarteys etc because "life is very difficult for the young athletes at this stage and finds it difficult to train well."
He said sports remain an emerging industry which requires support to develop; the reason why the partnership between YEA and NSA must be commended and urged beneficiaries not to take the grants for granted but uses it wisely.
Announcing the MoU extension, the YEA CEO, Mr. Kodua stated that the decision was based on the satisfactory disbursement of funds and the results as a few of the beneficiaries have qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games and one winning gold at the recently held CAF U-20 football championship.
He said the module will not change under the new period, stating that the 1,000 athletes registered under the previous scheme will continue to receive the support.
NSA boss, Prof. Twumasi said YEA has been supportive during the Covid-19 era with the roll out of the package that helped athletes to 'survive' during the period of hardship.
Giving a breakdown of the beneficiaries, Prof Twumasi indicated that 500 of them were footballers, specifically girls in the Ghana Women Premier League (WPL), 400 athletes with sports under the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and 100 for para sports.