The Northern Regional Branch of the Juvenile Club Owners Association (JUCOAG) ‘mission’ to Accra to participate in the first ever regional colts’ football competition has failed permanently after plans to travel to the nation’s capital for the games hit a snag. The team was planning to participate in the Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 categories of the games which kicks off Tuesday 6th August, 2019 in Accra.
Plans to travel for the games started way back in December, 2018 as executives of JOCOAG were promised of buses to convey the over 130 contingent of players and officials to the games. The promise was made when contact was initiated by JUCOAG executives at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) with the regional minister, Salifu Saeed entrusting the responsibility of securing the buses to his subordinates especially his deputy, John Benam in his absence.
However, when players and officials gathered at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium on Sunday, the only available bus was the Tamale Senior High School bus which was inadequate considering the numbers of the contingent.
Several calls were made to the minister and the powers that be at the RCC to no avail. This made players to pitch temporal camp at the stadium while their leaders were making contacts to get buses to convey them. Pictures of the players sleeping at the stadium went viral on social media on Monday morning.
Northern Regional Chairman of JUCOAG Mohammed Nurudeen Sham’una in an exclusive interview with Diamond Sports Yelivuhi Saha, our flagship interactive sports program on Monday morning said the executives were at the palace of the Savelugu Chief, Yoo Naa Yakubu Andani to seek his intervention in the matter. The Yoo Naa calmed their nerves and asked them to return to their base while he makes efforts to secure them the buses from the RCC and the regional minister Salifu Saeeed and his deputy John Benam. The Yoo Naa later called them after 5:00pm to inform them that he wasn’t getting the regional minister and his deputy on phone to discuss this issue with them for the way forward.
However at about 6:00pm on Monday, the said buses were nowhere to be found prompting the chairman of JUCOAG, Nurudeen Sham’una to disperse the players back to their homes.
The Under 17 team was due to play Greater Accra on Tuesday evening after the opening ceremony.
The sullen looking players were seen fleeing in all directions with disappointment, disgust and bewilderment visibly written on their faces.
Northern Region was due to present two sets of teams at the games, that is Northern team A and team B because the region had more clubs as compared to other regions when the qualification series were initiated. For instance Upper West Region wasn’t part of the association and didn’t have a team and the slot was added to Northern Region. And with this, they were hoping to clinch at least a medal position or win the ultimate.
At this juncture, it is unclear what organizers of the games will do or say about this development. But it is a sad state of things as far as the developments of the younger ones are concerned.