About Sports Writers Association Of Ghana (SWAG)
The idea of form an association exclusively for sports writers in Ghana came in the middle of June 1968. Kingsley Obeng, the late Managing Director of Nogahil Hotel, then a sportswriter with the Ghanaian Times, mooted the idea following a short visit to Britain where such a body existed. The idea was readily accepted and the SWAG was officially inaugurated at a colourful ceremony at Ambassador Hotel in Accra on August 3, 1968. The guest of honour was Mr. A. K. Deku, then Commissioner for Education, Sports and Cultural Affairs.
At its inaugural meeting, Mr. Kingsley Obeng, the originator of the idea, was made secretary, Mr. Joe Lartey of GBC became the President, with Mr. Ben Eghan Jnr., also of GBC, as his vice. Mr. J. K. Addo Twum, Sports Editor of the Daily Graphic, was made the Treasure. Other founding members were Messrs Ken Bediako, the late Yaw Boakye Ofori-Atta, both then with the Daily Graphic, Willie Kwarteng, Joe Aggrey, Kwamina Longdon, then of Ghanaian Times, Vincent Mensah and Eugene Thompson, both of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), and H. O. Ampomah of GBC.
Unfortunately after the grand inauguration, the Association became dormant and after two years in office changes were effected at the top hierarchy with Mr. Willie Kwarteng, then Sports Editor of the Ghanaian Times, being entrusted with the mantle of leadership. Mr. Eugene Thompson, then Sports Editor of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), became the Association’s New Secretary. But like their predecessors the new leadership also failed to inject the much needed vibrancy into the affairs of the Association and it became necessary to effect changes again in 1973.
The annual awards night was the brain child of Mr. B. B. Bismark, a keen sports enthusiast and one-time team manager of the Black Stars who was later enstooled Aburihene. At an informal meeting with the Secretary, Eugene Thompson and Mr. Ken Bediako, then of the Daily Graphic at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Mr. Bismark, who later became a SWAG Patron, mooted the idea of an annual awards might. He actually bought the first two trophies for the purpose- Best defender and Goal-king. Akuetteh Armah of Kumasi Cornerstones and Peter Lamptey of Accra Hears of Oak were the first recipients.
The first awards night was held at the Ambassador Hotel in 1974. It was poorly patronized and the SWAG eventually had to admit a lot of uninvited guests. Two years later the giant Kumasi Brewery Limited (KBL), headed by the late Dennis Beesley who was later made a SWAG Patron, offered to sponsor the SWAG annual awards. KBL did it in such a grand manner that at easily became the topmost annual event for the sporting fraternity. The KBL-SWAG deal lasted for nearly two decades.
In the meantime the SWAG executive had been once again reshuffled in early 1973 with Oheneba Charles, then Editor of the Sporting News, assuming the presidency. His vice was Ken Bediako, with Mr. Joe Aggrey, then of the Ghanaian Times, as Secretary, with Mr. Ebo Quansah, also then with the Ghanaian Times, as Deputy Secretary. Mr. Addo-Twum was made Honorary Treasurer.
The SWAG made gains under Oheneba Charles’ leadership. The awards night and the SWAG Cup match were institutionalized. Another feather in the cap of the Oheneba Charles administration was the purchase of a Club House for the Association at Dansoman, a suburb of Accra.
After 12 years in office the Association decided to elevate Oheneba Charles to the position of Patron in recognition of his hard work and devotion to duty. Again, in consultation with the Patrons, Mr. Joe Aggrey, then with the Daily Graphic who later became a Deputy Minister of Sports, was appointed President, with Mr. Francis Assuah of Ghanaian Times, now Editor of Weekly Spectator, as his vice. Mr. Akwasi Atta Amoah, then of the Weekly Spectator was made Secretary, with Mr. Felix Abyateye of the Daily Graphic as his Deputy. Mr. Sammy Aduagyei of Ghanaian Times was made the new Treasurer.
The Joe Aggrey administration continued the good work of its predecessor. It was, however, decided to move away form the era of appointment of executives to the era of elections. A new constitution was therefore promulgated to pave way for democratic elections. The first ever SWAG elections were held on Saturday Oct. 4 1997 at the Association’s Club House. Mr. Joe Aggrey was returned unopposed as President, likewise his vice, Ebo Quansah. Other officers were Messrs Emmanuel Amoako, Secretary; Christian Abbew of Weekly Spectator, Assistant Secretary, and Kwesi Brew of GNA, Treasurer. Two executive members, Mr. Stanley Twum-Barima (The Statesman) and Mr. George Martinson (Christian Messenger) were returned unopposed.
Mr. Ebo Quansah became acting President in early 2001 when Mr. Joe Aggrey had was appointed Deputy Minister of Sport. Mr. Quansah was confirmed President at the polls in 2002. Mr. Kwabena Yeboah, Editor of Africa Sports, is the Vice President. Other officers were Messrs Emmanuel Amoako, Secretary; Maurice Quansah, Asst. Secretary; Rosalind Amoh (Graphic), Treasurer; Ben Ohene Ayeh and Kwame Baah-Nuako, executive members.
The Association being very democratic went to the polls again and in 2007, elected an executive made up of Mr. Ackah Anthony(Graphic Sports), President, Mr. Christian Abbew (Ghanaian Times), Vice President, Mr. William Ezah (GNA), Secretary, Ms Veronica Commey (GNA) Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Amponsah (Ghanaian Times) and George Lawson (GBC), executive members respectively, took over from the Ebo Quansah administration.
This year (2011) on February 26, another election was held with Ackah Anthony and Veronica Commey returning unopposed. Four new faces joined the Executive. They are Ben Ohene Ayeh, former editor of the Phobian, now PRO at the Ghana Tourist Board as Vice President; Sammy Heywood Okine, producer of ON THE BALL on GTV and correspondent of sportsinghana.com as Deputy General Secretary; Mathias Tibu lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism and Frank Ampedu, managing editor of Weekly Sports as Executive Members. William Ezah was elevated to General Secretary.
The new men in charge have brought new dynamism into the Association and more sports journalists are joining the fold.The SWAG has a membership of about 80 of good standing; it also has a powerful board of patrons, comprising Dr. Yaw Nkansa-Gyane, Mr. Walter Esposito, Mrs. Theodosia Okoh, Mr. E. T. Kwashie, Mr. Ray Quarcoo, Mr. Kwame Ofosu-Bamfo, Mr. Amarkai Amarteifio, Nana Kumi Gyamfi, Dr. Sam Jonah, Oheneba Charles, Mr. Assad Mallah and Joe Lartey. On a sad note, the SWAG has lost seven of its patrons over the years, namely Messrs B. K. Edusei, Dennis Beesley, D. G. Hathiramani, S. K. Mainoo, H. P. Nyemitei, B. A. Holdbrook-Smith and Zac Bentum.
May their souls rest in perfect peace.