The Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, has commended the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) for hosting the sixth International Association of Sports Press (AIPS) Africa Congress in Accra, saying it is important for delegates to use sports as a tool to salvage the integrity of sports by promoting a discourse on how to de-emphasise the win-at-all-cost attitude.

He said it was important that sports journalists “used sports as an effective tool for the development of individuals and nations.”

Addressing the delegates during the opening ceremony yesterday, the minister hinted that Ghana would host an African Sports Governance Conference in Accra in September this year with a view to addressing the numerous challenges confronting the governance of sports from the grassroots to the elite level.

He said the conference, to be organised in collaboration with the African Union Commission, would create a platform for academicians, sports experts, traditional rulers, governments and the private sector to develop pragmatic measures that would accelerate the promotion of sports in the continent.

Mr Asiamah announced also that with Ghana set to host the 2023 Africa Games, it was important that the games project team met with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2019 Africa Games to be held in Casablanca, Morocco, to share ideas.

A total of 35 delegates, representing 25 national sports journalists associations in Africa, are attending the three-day congress at the Accra City Hotel.

In his welcome address, the President of SWAG, Mr Kwabena Yeboah, said hosting dignitaries from sister Africa countries formed part of the association’s 50th anniversary celebrations and, therefore, it was appropriate to celebrate this significant milestone by SWAG and also devise means of promoting sports.

He said the membership of SWAG had expanded across the country and that revealed that the association had started capacity-building programmes to enhance efficiency in their delivery.

Later in the day, former Hearts CEO and a sports business consultant, Mr Neil Armstrong-Mortagbe, engaged the delegates on the structural and marketing implications of the expanded Africa Cup of Nations. It was followed by a talk by former Black Stars defender, John Paintsil, and onetime Black Stars management committee chairman, Mr Fred Pappoe, on why African teams fail to excel at the FIFA World Cup.

The Head of the sports directorate of the University of Ghana, Dr Bello Btuigu, spoke on the role of sports journalists in using sport to achieve the UN’s Specific Development Goals (SGDs).