Some days are harder than others. The same goes for some months. And it appears that August is going to be a difficult month for Ghana. But, it is not as though there was much the country could have done to make a difference. It’s more a matter of rolling with the punches, and that is just what Ghana is doing.
With over a thousand deaths reported to date, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is clearly at the forefront of everyone’s mind when they think about Ghana at the moment. Though the all four suspected cases within the country’s territory received negative test results, the threat remains ever present.
Part of the problem is, of course, the porous land borders that Ghana shares with its neighbours. Consider also, that a number of territories where the outbreak is strong still have citizens with no knowledge of what Ebola is or how it is spread. As shown through the continental AIDS statistics, it is clear that this lack of information leads to increased rates of infection. Additionally, West Africa, in general suffers from a deficit in skilled doctors, though the involvement of the World Health Organisation is promising.
Ghana, though still Ebola free, is preparing three isolation centres in different parts of the country to deal with the potential threat of the disease. Though everyone hopes that the disease settles and the rate of infection plummets, there is still a chance it could cross the border.
There are other elements that want to cross the border too. The Sierre Leone Football Association (SLFA) have requested to play their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying home matches in Accra. The Ghana Football Association is considering the request. There is no hesitation from the Ghanaian players and clubs to assist their fellow African soccer players in principle. But, with the reason for this request is the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone. What if the disease were to cross the border with the players or their fans?
It’s something to consider. But, then so are the other threats facing African soccer players; even those temporarily residing outside Ghanaian borders. According to a report on Goal.com, West African players in Thailand are simply not earning their due. Not only are they staying on inappropriate visas; others are turning to prostitution and drug trafficking to house and feed themselves. While these reports remain uncorroborated by official sources, perhaps the Ghana Football Association should consider bringing home these boys before opening their stadiums.
These are all big questions, many with no answers – and a lot to deal with. That’s especially true for the Ghanaian youth who likely heard more about the threat of the Ebola virus than the promises of the future on International Youth Day… Perhaps September will be better.