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By D. A. Ababio Jnr

……………FLASHBACK…………………With a couple of friends taking a stroll along the roadside once upon a time, we came to a very gigantic, enormous and monstrous good looking building which we were bound to think of it as one of the very few ultramodern structures being put up in the country. We didn’t spare a selfie by this monumental building for our WhatsApp “DP”.
We took some time to admire this building after the selfie, moving round the building and taking numerous pictures of it. For a moment, a thought just struck me like a vision I will liken to John the Revelator. I stood aside watching my friends’ reaction on their admiration. They seemed to pass comments only about the painting, the height, roofing, decorations around the building, good work done by the painter, wonderful artwork by whoever did the decors and the most talked about, who owned that edifice.
The thoughts which were continually going through my mind made my conscience push me to feel guilty of how my friends did not take a second to admire what was really holding that structure and He who dug and built what held the structure. However, I was confident to make them know afterwards that, the most cherished of whatever we saw was what held that edifice and who made what held it…(THE FOUNDATION AND THE LAYER OF THE FOUNDATION). It is not the beauty of a building you should look at, it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.
They were dumfounded and shared in my perspective in the whole experience but sad enough, there was no way we could take a selfie with the foundation if we were to revisit the building. The foundation was not that visible at that stage of the building. We resented to the fact that the best thing we could just do was to look out for the building planner and the foundation layer, to encourage them to do more of what we saw so in the long run, we could have numerous look – alike of the building and when we take a stroll again whenever in the future, we will feel like walking in paradise. We pray other individuals fund the stated course.


…………. PRESENT……… As I staggered at the top most seat of the stands at the stadium observing a coach introducing a young boy to the game for the first ever time, I was astounding by how herculean the task was. Bringing up an average kid to a level where he can now be coached tactically is a very long story on its own. The few technical skills to be taught to bring the child to that level where he or she can compete in a standard competitive game requires a lot of resources, to talk of human resource, required equipment, financial support, to mention but a few. It is the same with the case of officiating too.
However, we seem not to pay attention to this aspect of the game like the story of my friends and the building. Believe you me, the future of whatever wherever whenever and however is in its foundation. The development process in building the strong foundation is keen. It is in this that we have a sure belief of a greater tomorrow. Development is keen in anything, ask any inventor, because no matter what the inventor wishes to invent, it starts from the idea being developed gradually through a careful process where not even a step is taken for granted. The foundation and the development process goes like an ‘i’ with the dot. Without the dot, it communicates a different meaning.
Upon a careful research of the norms and practices of other highly ranked countries and their approach to the game, you will realize that a lot is invested in development of the game across board. Nevertheless, the structures put in place to build a solid foundation is a costly endeavor but they have purposed to invest in development and they are of high hopes of it to pay off in the long run. Surely, they are and will continue to smile to their investment.
Haile Selassie, the great emperor of Ethiopia… when he had in mind to conquer territories and to move his own territory forward, he realized with his entourage that the going was getting tough. He did a careful study of how the great U.S.S.R AND U.S.A were soaring at the heights they were. Out of the blue, he came out to say to his entourage that, “We have before us the examples of the U.S.A and U.S.S.R. We must remember how long these required to achieve their union. When a solid foundation is laid, if the mason is able and his materials are good, a strong house can be built.”
Let us make a careful finding on a couple of our national assets, the causes and effects of their upbringing in the game, where and when they started holding the caricature and hitting and pushing those small balls, their elevation point, the point at which giving up became an option but why they continued…. maybe my submissions might be clear with that.

In this scenario, a couple of the builders are in our midst like manna from heaven and some in some cobwebs in deliberately “invisible corners” taking up the mantle to the best of their abilities. Their abilities cannot be enough on their own accord but a steadfast networking and an all involving developmental investment will push their abilities to the brim of the cup, and hopefully their cup, our cup and the nation’s cup will run over.
……..FAST FORWARD……….This is the period of transition in the game where you just cannot be where you wish when you have no vision, structure and strategy for development and a building of a strong foundation with a relevant approach to all stages of development. (‘Relevant’ in this context with all sense of meaning).
I forced my inner self to think about some issues I suggest we start taking a vivid look at….
1. How many teams play in the juvenile league in the GAHA league? Are their numbers increasing year after year?? Are steps being taken to improve their league?? Do we all believe it is the most important of all the leagues played in the GAHA?? What’s happening to the juveniles in other regions, some of the talents there are just amazing…….??
2. Last seen on the international stage of junior teams was 2012, isn’t four or five years of no exposure too dangerous?? What happened and what couldn’t be sacrificed??
3. What’s happening to those talents in senior high schools after completion, since about close to 85% of the total number across the nation do not venture in the game again?? What are the stakes of the 8% who enter the few tertiary institutions that play hockey?? Why do Teacher Training Colleges no longer play hockey?? Is there anyway Polytechnics could be driven to partake in hockey during their games??Why are hockey playing schools in the Greater Accra where we have the most vibrant Regional Association and the office of the National Association depreciating while the playing institutions in the other Regions increasing??
4. In the next 10 years, where are the next set of national players coming from?? How are we impacting where they are now to get the very best out of them??
5. What are some of the causes of the dormancy of some of the Regional Associations?? Aren’t the effects too outrageous?? How are we aiding to make them vibrant??
6. There are some individuals embarking on this ideology of development and a strong foundation building, networking and that little push will get them there. How are we helping??
7. Criticizing officials in their operations have come to stay, but what contribution are we making to developing young adults to become the next generation of FIH officials??

When all is said, and done, and we are yet to face the tower of Babylon, we will be confident and assured of victory because the process could, should and must be trusted. However, even if it’s a journey of one million miles, it still begins with a step.


This write up was inspired by a 15-year-old boy from one of the secondary schools in the Central Region (Edinaman SHS) after a conversation on WhatsApp.

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