AIPS President advice Journalist to be Truthful,Fair and balanced when performing their duties.

Michel Obi, AIPS Africa President has called on journalists to be truthful, accurate, fair and balanced in performing their duties as professionals.

Addressing sports journalists covering the 11th African Women’s Football Championship (AWCON 2018) who took time to attend the first ever seminar organized by the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) in collaboration with the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) at the Alisa Swiss Spirit Hotel in Accra, he everybody wants to be heard in the modern dispensation, but the chosen ones always glitter and stand out among the lot.


Delivering on the topic on ethics and journalism, he said training is very important and journalists must get their facts right before presenting to the public.

Mr. Obi who also stood in for ace Nigerian sports journalist and astute administrator,  Aisha Falode  adviced young sports journalists to be sincere in this digital age of social media and stand out as the best while carrying their duties.

He urged experienced journalists to set the agenda and be in the forefront in the quest for better development. He noted that journalism has not changed, but rather the tools, and journalists should take advantage to improve upon their work.

Michel Obi expressed that capacity, competence, character and courage are some elements of a good journalist.

Rosemary K. Amoh, a seasoned Ghanaian female sports journalist of the Graphic Communications Group shared some of her experiences as she delivered a paper of the past, present and what should be done for Women Football in Africa.

She said though women’s football around the world began just years after the men’s game began with England showing the way, it was not until the 1940s that it caught on in Africa, with Nigeria women teams competing and those matches being reported in the national newspaper Nigerian Spokesman. No wonder, Nigeria remains the pacesetters in the game on the continent.

“This slowly caught on with the rest of the continent.  For instance, in South Africa in the 1960s, women tried to create women’s football clubs including Jessie Maseko who tried to create a girls high school football club in 1962. In Cape Town a high school team called the Mother City Girls was created and played against boys’ clubs.] By the 1970s, regular matches were being played by women in Senegal and South Africa” she revealed.

According to her, in Ghana, the fever caught on in the late and early 1980s, mainly for fun purposes with a number of clubs dotted around areas such as Accra, Kumasi and Sefwi.

She said presently, women’s football is the in thing in African football now.  On the pitch, Nigeria’s overwhelming dominance is over as it is no longer Nigeria women’s football and the other teams.

“Strong rivalries have been built along the line and the rivalry in the male’s game among the continent’s giants, have been extended into the women’s game. Africa has moved away from recording cricket scorelines, like 1994 when Nigeria walloped Ghana in the two-leg Women’s World Cup qualifying tie. Of course, there are some few cricket scorelines but those are exception and it is obvious the game has just started in those countries.Equatorial Guinea’s success in winning two Women’s AFCON tournaments is also ample evidence.

“These present steady and remarkable progress can be attributed by the visibility of women’s football in the media and the coverage it is receiving now. The advancement of technology has made it possible and now, parents and guardians are not preventing their daughters to play football, but now encouraging and supporting their young daughters who show interest and talent to take it up.

The growth of the women’s game on the continent has been helped greatly by the introduction of the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 Women’s World Cup. The biennial tournaments have been a great opportunity for young girls to showcase their potential.

“I recall when I became a sports journalist some twenty-three years ago. There was only one known female sports journalist in Ghana. The joy of adding up to the number when I graduated from journalism school was cut short when she left to pursue further studies abroad. It took four years before two more joined in. Currently there are at least about 200 females practicing in the sports media with various specialisations. And they are not just in it, they know their stuff”she said.

On the future she stressed that Football at any level can no longer be considered a past time, where people believe that talent and skill is enough to bring success.

“Success requires systematic planning, grooming of the talents unearthed and also the need to have a good technical base, with regards to coaching.

With my long association with women’s football, I have come to believe that the persistent changes in the technical direction of the national teams do not augur well for good performance and progress. The performances and results are the evidence.

“Personally, I am of the opinion that asking for a women’s inter clubs competition may be a long term plan, given the dynamics and challenges travelling within the continent pose and the financial constraints.

However, at the sub-regional levels, such an idea could be tried, to ensure that the ladies get more playing time. The COSAFA, the CECAFA, WAFU tournaments could move from being only for the national teams, to the clubs so it encourages more people to invest in the game

“However, we can celebrate in style only when the nations take that bold decision to invest more in women’s football at all levels.

Just as there has been a conscious effort on the part of national federations to make sure that their male national teams enjoy steady development and progress, so also must the women’s game receive such attention.

“Women’s  football has come to stay in Africa and the benefits of it go beyond giving the talented ladies a chance to express themselves on the ball. It has brought hope, become the source of livelihood for some who otherwise, had no means of making ends meet.’ She added.

Anastasia Tsichlas, head of women’s football at CAF said women should try and develop beyond their enviromnment and not be shy of making forays into areas which traditionally are the sole reserve of men.

Tony Baffoe, CAF deputy general secretary said he was happy at the level of football being played at the ongoing  AWCON 2018  and  believes African Football can get better with hardwork from all stakeholders.

Kwabena Yeboah, president of SWAG emphasized that the seminar and the next AIPS congress to be hosted in Ghana later are part of the activities marking the 50th anniversary celebration of SWAG, obviously one of the oldest existing associations in Africa.

Majeed Bawa, acting director general of the National Sports Authority (NSA) who represented the Minister of Youth & Sports expressed his satisfaction on the seminar and hoped for more of such programmes to sharpen the skills of young reporters.

William Ezah, general secretary of AIPS Africa and SWAG commended all who participated in the impressive event with the theme: ‘Raising The Bar For Today’s Women Sports Journalists’.

Story by Sammy Heywood Okine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *