• START: December 4, 2016
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  • How AMASS honoured her victorious athletes
ByI K Gyasi

On Sunday, March 27, 2011, the T.I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School, Kumasi, popularly known as REAL AMASS, honoured her victorious athletes who participated in the just-ended Ashanti Region Schools/Colleges Sports Super Zonal Competition, held at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.

At a specially organised durbar held at the School’s Dining Hall, awards presented to the athletes included the following: the school crest, made of metal, a pair of running shoes, the school’s 60th Anniversary special exercise books, textbooks, scholarships for very outstanding athletes, cash awards totaling GH¢3,000 (Three thousand Ghana cedis) and sumptuous refreshments.

Why did the Headmaster, Mr. Yakub Abubakar, find it necessary to honour the athletes in such a special way? After all, the school has always been noted for its exploits in football, athletics, volley ball, table tennis, and other sports disciplines.

For example, the records show that the school once won the National Schools Soccer Competition at the Accra Sports Stadium, and the Girls Volleyball competition at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.

The soccer team once represented the region at the National Schools Soccer Competition at Sunyani. As for the Zonal competitions in athletics, it is difficult to remember the last time the school did not win the competition in her Zone.

The school authorities had every reason to crow. This year’s victory was the third CONSECUTIVE victory that went all the way back to 2009 through 2010, when Mr. Y. K. Agyare was the headmaster.

In all the three years, the school can boast of winning both the boys and the girls competitions, with records being equalled or broken.

For example, this year, 2011, a total of nine records were broken in the following competitions: Long Jump (both boys and girls), Triple Jump (both boys and girls), Discus (boys), High Jump (girls), 4×100 metres (boys and girls) and 4×400 metres (boys).

The school had never performed so impressively, and one wonders whether, across the country, any mixed senior high school can come up with such a success story of three consecutive wins.

At this moment, let me praise the former student-athletes of the school who laid the solid sporting foundation which their current younger brothers and sisters have built, and continue to build on.

Because I do not want to injure feelings, let me refrain from mentioning some names and leaving out others I cannot immediately remember. I am sure that at the proper time, their names will be honourably mentioned, and even inscribed in stone for posterity.

As part of the celebrations of the school’s unique achievement, a friendly match was organised between the students and staff. The staff won by 3 goals to 1.

There was a candle light procession through some of the streets of Kumasi. In addition, there was a health walk involving the staff and students of the school, also through some of the principal streets of Kumasi. The students and staff were cheered by onlookers and passers-by.

While we praise the athletes, praise must also go to Mr. Agyare, the immediate past headmaster, Mr. Abubakar, the present Headmaster, the Physical Education teachers, the rest of the teaching and non-teaching staff, the Board of Governors, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and the general student body for their contribution to this success story of the school.

Though the school was marking such an impressive sporting achievement, the Headmaster seized the opportunity to emphasise the point that in its 61-year history, the school’s reputation has not been built solely on sports.

For example, he told the large gathering at the durbar that the school won the Ashanti Region debate organised on March 21, 2011 by the Ghana Education Service, in collaboration with UNICEF, Ghana Water Company Limited, Water Aid, Anglo-Gold Ashanti, etc.

He also mentioned that in the 2009 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), over 90% of the students gained admission into the country’s universities and tertiary institutions, with some gaining admission into overseas universities.

He equally praised the students for maintaining a high standard of discipline, both inside the school and outside.

The Headmaster did not forget to mention the names of individuals and organisations for their contributions in cash and in kind, not only for the achievement, but also for the organisation of the celebrations.

REAL AMASS incredibly lacks sporting facilities. In spite of attempts to grow grass, the football field is still virtually bare.

The school also needs a multi-purpose court for games like volleyball, handball, basketball, lawn tennis and badminton. Mr. Abubakar made a special appeal to individuals, philanthropists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), old students and the government to come to the aid of school.

As a former headmaster myself, I am fully aware of the prohibitive cost of running sports in our senior high schools. At the moment, each student pays 80p (Eighty Ghana pesewas) per term, making it GH¢2.40 (Two Ghana cedis, forty Ghana pesewas) per one academic year.

My information is that currently, this heartbreakingly meagre amount must be shared between the school, the Regional Education Office, the Metro/Municipal/District Education Office, and the National Headquarters.

The reason given is that these bodies help in organising schools at the Zonal, Super-Zonal and National levels.

Now, one football or volleyball of doubtful quality costs about GH¢70 (Seventy Ghana cedis). A good quality one costs GH¢100 (One hundred Ghana cedis).

The price of one discus is GH¢90 (Ninety Ghana cedis), while one javelin costs GH¢120 (One hundred and twenty Ghana cedis). The high jump bar alone, which often breaks, is GH¢500 (Five hundred Ghana cedis).

The price of one pole vault pole is GH¢1,600 (one thousand, six hundred Ghana cedis). Foam for the high jump costs GH¢2,000 (Two thousand Ghana cedis), while that for the pole vault costs GH¢3,000 (Three thousand Ghana cedis).

A pair of football boots and a pair of running spikes cost GH¢50 (Fifty Ghana cedis) each.

Sportsmen and women get injured during training and during competitions. Drugs for immediate treatment cost a great deal. Again, during sports competitions, the sportsmen and women need to have the menu changed for them, apart from post-training snacks.

Schools must transport the sportsmen and women, as well as the general student body, to the Kumasi Sports Stadium, and that means costs in fuel and maintenance. Obviously, the shared 80p (Eighty pesewas) per student per term is hopelessly inadequate.

Dear Old Student, REAL AMASS needs you. Your contribution can help provide track suits, vests, shorts, medicines, a tin of milk, etc.