The Greater Accra Rugby Association (GARA) elected new Executives at a special session of its Congress in Accra to meet the many challenges of the fastest growing sport in the world.
In an interview the President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU), Mr Herbert Mensah, said that he was delighted with the outcome of the GARA Congress.
Mensah wished the new President of GARA, Mr Abdul-Aziz Issah, and his newly elected Executive Team well in their endeavours to ensure that Rugby in Greater Accra is a sport for all and true to its values. He expressed confidence that they will ensure the unending growth of the Ghana Rugby Family.
In his acceptance address, the newly elected President of GARA said, the branch has many challenges and issues to be addressed. His team would however focus on three core areas: funding of Rugby in Greater Accra, youth and female development and player welfare.
Other executive members are: Rafatu Inusah and Ako Wilson (Executive Members), Omar Sharif Captan (Public Relations Officer) ,Nizar El-aschkar (Treasurer), Gifty Kukua Aggrey (General Secretary), Amuzuloh Kobbla Abdul Salim (Technical Director), and Emmanuel Linford Owusu (Vice President).
Below is his full address.
ACCEPTANCE ADDRESS BY MR ABDUL-AZIZ ISSAH, NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE GREATER ACCRA RUGBY ASSOCIATION (GARA)
Thank you all for the confidence you have reposed in me by electing me as President of the Greater Accra Rugby Association (GARA).
GARA is supposed to be the most effective Regional Association and it needs to be the example to all other Regional Associations.
We aim to lead by example and to show how the Regional Rugby Associations can and must play a major role in the development of Rugby in Ghana. This will be achieved by making Greater Accra not only the strongest Rugby Club Association in Ghana, but indeed in the Sub-region and eventually the Continent.
The Members of GARA, namely firstly the Clubs and secondly other Rugby Bodies such as the Ghana Rugby Union Players Association (GRUPA) and the Ghana Female Rugby Association (GERA), are the clients of GARA. As such GARA’s mission must be to serve its clients in an extraordinary way.
At the end of the day it is about the players, and GARA and all the Rugby Bodies mentioned above are accountable to the players, both junior and senior, and both male and female.
In line with the vision and mission of our governing body, the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU), and eventually the vision and mission of World Rugby, GARA will also aim to make Rugby a sport for all in Greater Accra, true to its values, with the mission to grow the Ghana
There are many strategic areas that my executive team and I will need to address including the protection and promotion of Rugby, its values, spirit and ethos, the increase of local participation in Greater Accra, ensuring player welfare best practice, maximising the value of all GARA properties, increasing sustainability and competitiveness of Greater Accra Rugby, optimising national participation and providing strong and effective leadership.
On a functional level we will need to attend to many issues such as GARA’s finances, legal matters, commercial ventures, development and performance of Members, communication, technical excellence and last but not least external and member relations.
As I have mentioned to the Congress in my pitch for the Presidency, there are essentially three key areas of development that my team and I will place strong emphasis on:
- Aggressively seeking sponsorship and other funding solutions;
- The development of schools and female Rugby, and
- Club and player welfare in association with GRUPA.
We are all aware that without funding nothing really works. I am quickly going to establish a task force to help in our fundraising activities. To this end I am making a personal pledge of 5,000 cedis to be lodged into the GARA account as a commitment to that cause.
We realise that the corporate world seeks answers to three basic questions, namely (1) Who and what is Rugby, (2) What are the benefits for us to support Rugby, and (3) Why must I support Rugby and not another sport or cause.
My team and I will work tirelessly to give substantive answers to those three questions and a lot of that is linked into the positive brand association that sponsors can get by association with the unique values of Rugby, namely integrity, passion, teamwork, discipline and respect.
Youth development is the future of Rugby in Ghana. If we can’t get that right, Ghana Rugby will never soar like an Eagle. A GARA “Get-Into-Rugby” (GIR) committee will be put in place to link in with the national GIR programme and to address the needs in both Accra and Tema.
The development of Female Rugby which hitherto has been neglected for some years is gathering momentum. We are going to place special emphasis on female rugby by encouraging the formation and recruitment of girls into a female rugby training program.
GARA’s seriousness about the development of female Rugby in Greater Accra is clearly demonstrated by the appointment of two ladies to the GARA Board by way of Gifty Kukua Aggrey (General Secretary) and Rafatu Inusah (Executive Member).
There will be no Rugby without the players, and this Board acknowledges it. By strengthening GRUPA we will be giving the players a platform to voice their concerns which will in turn assist GARA in formulating programmes to better improve the conditions of the playing body.
We have also put our proverbial money where our mouths are in this regards by appointing Ako Wilson, the President of GRUPA, to the Board of GARA.
It is only a fool that promises solutions without understanding the problems and challenges at hand. The GARA Executive will therefore as a first step do a proper analysis of the real needs, problems and challenges of both its governing body, the GRFU, and of its Members. To that end we will engage in a lot of listening over the following few weeks.
The credo will however always be that action speaks louder than words, and my team and I will give real meaning to that.
We once again thank the Greater Accra Rugby Family for the trust and confidence that was placed in us today. Strength can only come from unity, and we plead with and invite Ghana to take hands with us and to help us to soar like eagles.
I will not be fulfilling my duties if I don’t use this opportunity to pay tribute to the President of the GRFU, Mr Herbert Mensah, for the immense contribution he has made to Ghana Rugby since taking office in June 2014.
Not only did Mr Mensah almost single-handedly fund Ghana Rugby, but his vision and leadership was and will hopefully continue to be more than invaluable to Ghana Rugby.
One of his visions from the word go has been to establish strong Rugby Bodies including Regional Associations, Clubs and bodies such as GRUPA. We, my Executives and I, hereby commit ourselves to work tirelessly to help fulfil his vision of establishing a strong and winning Ghana Rugby Family – both on- and off-the-field.
God bless Ghana. God bless Ghana Rugby
The newly elected Board of GARA from left to right: Rafatu Inusah and Ako Wilson (Executive Members), Omar Sharif Captan (Public Relations Officer) ,Nizar El-aschkar (Treasurer), Gifty Kukua Aggrey (General Secretary), Amuzuloh Kobbla Abdul Salim (Technical Director), Emmanuel Linford Owusu (Vice President) and Abdul-Aziz Issah (President).
The many challenges facing the Greater Accra Rugby Association (GARA) will rest on the shoulders of the newly elected Executive under leadership of the President, Abdul-Aziz Issah (right) and the Vice President, Emmanuel Linford Owusu (left).
A GARA “Get-Into-Rugby” (GIR) committee will be put in place to link in with the national GIR programme and to address the needs in both Accra and Tema.
GARA’s newly elected President, Abdul-Aziz Issah, committed the Regional Association to place special emphasis on female rugby by encouraging the formation and recruitment of girls into a female rugby training program.
According to the GARA Executive fundraising is one of the main focus area and the President announced that he will quickly establish a task force attend to fund raising activities.
Source: Ghana Rugby