Chris Koney’s column: Decathlon Ghana prioritizes women’s football

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In our part of the world, many women footballers have had to face and go through a series of difficulties trying to be professionals because their careers have not been valued, a rather unfortunate situation. Women’s football has gone through several challenges and women have had to face a series of tricky situations throughout their careers. The lack of opportunities at the economic level, financial support and sponsorships are some of the known challenges over the years.

French sports retail company, Decathlon Ghana has signed a four-year partnership agreement with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) as the official sports retail partner of the association. This event took place at the Decathlon shop at Junction Mall in Nungua, Accra.

The partnership which is scheduled to commence from the 2020/2021 football season through to the 2023/2024 season will see Decathlon Ghana providing support and products for the Women’s Premier League competitions of the Ghanaian Football Association.

As the official sports retail partner, Decathlon Ghana will be providing products including 1000 Kipsta balls valued at GH¢150,000 per year. The GFA will also receive other complementary sports products valued at GH¢100,000 per year for the four-year period totaling GH¢400,000. In addition, Decathlon will sell the GFA’s paraphernalia and accessories in all its physical stores.

Speaking at the launch of the partnership deal, President of the Ghana Football Association, Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku emphasized that the partnership will focus on women’s football and the balls as well as other sports products will be allocated to the Women’s Premier League (WPL). “This partnership will ensure that the women’s games are well equipped to enable them excel in their discipline. Therefore, our contract with Decathlon Ghana will support the development of women’s football in Ghana to the tune of GH¢600,000.”

The Special Guest at the event was the French Ambassador to Ghana, Anne Sophie AVÉ who expressed her delight at the partnership between the Ghana Football Association and the French sportswear giant which was established in July 1976 with 313 stores in France and over 1,274 around the world currently.

In a post event conversation with the Country Manager of Decathlon, Kwasi Tabury, he reiterated the company’s commitment to support the development of Ghana football and the agreement with the Ghana Football Association.

“So in 2017, we opened the first Decathlon Ghana store at the Junction Mall in Nungua, Accra with the sole purpose of making sports accessible to all Ghanaians, irrespective of age, sex and tribe. It is in our best interest to help in the growth and development of sports in Ghana on various levels,” he indicated.

Elaborating on the need to develop women’s football, Mr. Tabury added that “for so long, the women’s game played second fiddle to the phenomenal global profile of the male equivalent, but the exploits of female star players around the globe has showcased the quality of women’s football on the biggest possible stage, inspiring a whole generation of girls in the process.

However, there remains some way to go before true equality can be achieved, and that’s partly because women’s football continues to face a number of hidden challenges that are preventing the sport from reaching its full potential.”

The partnership will see the Ghana Football Association providing technical assistance for two sports (football) driven corporate social responsibility projects being spearheaded by Decathlon Ghana, which are The Women In Sports Project and Kipsta to the Street Project.

As an entity driven by social causesDecathlon Ghana has identified some social causes which they are championing. “Firstly, we are focused on preserving our environment to protect our purpose then we are also empowering the youth through sports. Additionally, improving the health of the underprivileged in addition to fighting non-communicable diseases using sports as a tool are things are passionate about and working on,” he added.

Currently, Decathlon Ghana operates at the Junction Mall in Nungua and will soon be opening another store in Kawukudi. The company owns a mobile truck store (Decathlon on Wheels) which serves people who are unable to visit the shop or its e-commerce store (www.decathlon.com.gh).

Decathlon offers the best in sporting supplies, with over 3,000 products across 40 sports ranging from popular sports such as football, fitness, bodybuilding, boxing, basketball, swimming and cycling to lesser known sports such as archery, hiking, kayaking and so on.

To provide a complete sporting experience to customers and sports users, the company has multiple zones, starting from Experience, Play to Discovery sport. The multiple-zone concept is based on learning, experiencing and discovering all forms of sports under one roof. Decathlon has a Multi-Purpose Playground next to all its stores to promote easy access to sports.

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