The Bui Power Authority BPA), Managers of the Bui Hydro Power Generating Station has picked five young talented footballers in the dam’s operational enclave to sponsor and develop their talents at the Accra-based John Paintsil Academy.
Emmanuel Jimah, Robert Bio Samba, Mohammed Saani, Kofi Kane and Collins Adorsom, residents of Bambio, Carpenter and Bongase were selected for the one-year sponsorship package during a one-week football gala competition held at Bui in the Banda District of the Bono Region.
The boys who are yet to be enrolled in the academy were among 291 young players drawn from the 16 major communities around the dam’s enclave who participated in the competition organised by the BPA in partnership with the Academy, under the Bui Talent Development Programme, an initiative of Mr Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, the Chief Executive Officer of the BPA.
According to Mr Salifu Wumbilla, the Director of Estates of the BPA, aside from deepening its relationship with the communities through the games and other fun fairs, the Authority was determined to scout, unearth, nurture and harness the sporting talents of young people in the area.
“We noticed many young people here have a lot of hidden talents, and we have resolved to extend our corporate social responsibility programme to identify and build on these talents so as to improve the livelihoods and socio-economic status of the people around the dam”, he added.
Mr Wumbilla said besides the power generation, the Authority was working to improve educational, health and sports infrastructure, as well as other social facilities, saying “we have also prioritised and promoted culture and tourism within the enclave”.
He said BPA was finalising modalities, saying very soon construction work on an ultra-modern Astro-turf facility would begin in one of the communities to promote sporting activities.
Mr John Paintsil, the Chief Executive Officer of the academy, and a former defender of the national team, the Black Stars commended the BPA for its efforts in building the sporting talents of the people in the area.
Describing the academy’s new partnership with the BPA as timely, he highlighted the need for the BPA to sustain the gala competition, and expand the scholarship so that at least many of the talented young footballers in the area would also benefit from the package.
Mr Paintsil gave the assurance that his academy would polish the talents of the boys to pave the way for them not only to feature in the national teams but play internationally as well.
Later in an interview, Mr Gabriel Apatu, the Head of Community Relations of the BPA and the event organiser told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the games had been successful, and therefore commended the local people for their cooperation and support.
Mr Apatu expressed optimism that the games would not only strengthen the BPA’s relationship with the people but also promote peace and social cohesion between and among the people in the communities.
“We see sports as one of the surest avenues to promote peaceful co-existence between the local communities in our enclave”, he stated.
In the grand finale, the Bui Select Team beat the ex-Black Star team which featured some retired players including Patrick Villars, John Paintsil, Isaac Paintsil, Kofi Amponsah, Dan Quaye, Peter Ofori Quaye and Isaac Vorsah 2-1 aggregate to win the Bui Power Cup.
The BPA later presented medals, sets of jerseys, footballs and gloves, shin guards and varieties of non-alcoholic beverages to all the 16 participating teams.