Citi Sports’ Nathan Quao returns with his weekly column and this week, he looks at the shocking decision of the Sports Minister to include Martha Bissah in Ghana’s All Africa Games team, Chelsea and Manchester City’s wins in the Barclays Premier League and Usain Bolt’s capture of the 100m at the World Championships.
Sports Minister turns selector
On Sunday, it emerged that Sports Minister Dr. Mustapha Ahmed had decided to give young athlete Martha Bissah a place on Ghana’s team to the All Africa Games in Congo in September.
The athlete failed to qualify for the All Africa Games because she did not meed the qualification mark of 2:04.00.
She ran times of 2:08 and 2:11 at the GAA qualifiers.
What is the Minister’s reason?
Sources at the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) say he wants to reward Bissah for her hardwork in the sport.
I found the news very disturbing because at the very first level, it is a very simple case of interference.
The GAA has the mandate to put teams together for the All Africa Games based on whether the athletes met the qualifying marks.
The Sports Minister area of work does not include picking athletes for events and that point must be made very clear.
Even if the Minister wants to reward Martha, a place in Ghana’s team for the event is totally off the mark. Those places are reserved for those who earned it by working hard on the track.
If Bissah has any intentions of going to Congo, it should only be granted because she either made it by running or she is attached to the team.
I learned that the GAA would state their position on the matter in coming days. I would love to hear what they have to tell us but I do not expect them to keep mute on the Minister’s move.
They must insist that the right things are done.
Chelsea grab first win, Man City keep the tempo
After losing at the Etihad last weekend, Chelsea had to find a way of getting back to win and they found victory at the Hawthorns thanks to Pedro, their new boy.
I must admit that the buzz of signing the former Barcelona winger was very evident. The passes were sharper and the forward play was very good.
The speed of the counter attack was even more delightful to me. I get the sense Chelsea will go down this road a lot of times this season and Pedro will be very key to that style of play.
But their defence needs some more work.
Is it time to phase John Terry out of the team? Is Kurt Zouma the one to pair with Cahill? Will Ivanovic be benched for some time and will Baba Rahman get his chance?
Those are questions for Mourinho to answer. He must be swift in making some of these important calls else Manchester City will be in a very good position hamper the Londoners’ chances of defending their title.
Talking about Manchester City, they were solid at Everton.
I was of the opinion that they recognised that they were away from home so they were slightly cautious but they got the win nonetheless.
Everton were positive and they get some marks from me for that decision but the Citizens were clinical on a day they recorded their 9th straight win to set a club record.
They had 12 shots with 9 of those being on target as compared to Everton’s 6 shots (1 on target).
They now have 9 points from 3 matches and they will want to pick up about 15 points from their first five matches just to give them comfort ahead of the challenging periods.
Usain bolts down another 100m title
Another 100m final in the World Championships. Another 100m title for Usain Bolt.
But this one might be the most important he has ever won. Not because of the time or the venue but it was because of the context.
The sport of athletics seemed to be relying on Bolt to win to ‘save’ it after several cases of doping emerged in the last few months.
The Jamaican duly delivered but he said it was for him.
That was also true because this was another test of his ability. American Justin Gatlin had won 28 consecutive races coming into the final and there was talk on how much he could upset Bolt.
So, the Jamaican had to really run for his career.
In the end, the race was decided by a tiny detail: 0.01 seconds.
I was pleased with the outcome not because I like Bolt but I thought of how the narrative would read: a final won by an athlete who had cheated sometime back with drugs.
The two men will contest the 200m event during the week but it is fair to say that Bolt has given Gatlin a lot to think about.
Special mentions to Lewis Hamilton for winning the Belgian Grand Prix, Ryad Mahrez for scoring his fourth goal for Leicester City in the Barclays Premier League (for giving me Fantasy League points) and to Serge Gnabry for pulling off a wonderful Marseille Roulette against Cesc Fabregas. Watch video below!!!
Have a great sporting week, folks.
Follow me on Twitter @nathan_quao');