The idea of forming an association exclusively for sports writers in Ghana was conceived in the middle of June 1968. The late Kingsley Obeng, the then Managing Director of Nogahil Hotel, Accra, and 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.
The Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) was officially inaugurated at a colorful ceremony at the then Ambassador Hotel in Accra on August 3, 1968. The guest of honor was Mr. A.K. Deku, then Commissioner for Education, Sports, and Cultural Affairs.
HISTORY OF SWAG LEADERSHIP
At its inaugural meeting, Mr. Kingsley Obeng, the originator of the idea, was made Secretary, Mr. Joe Lartey of GBC became the President, Mr. Ben Eghan Jnr., also of GBC, became the Vice President. Mr. J.K. Addo-Twum, then Sports Editor of the Daily Graphic, was made the Treasurer.
Other founding members were Messrs Ken Bediako, the late Yaw Boakye Ofori-Atta (both then of 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 changes were affected at the top hierarchy. Mr. Willie Kwarteng, then Sports Editor of the Ghanaian Times, was entrusted with the mantle of leadership. Mr. Eugene Thompson, then Sports Editor of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), became the Association's Secretary. But like their predecessors, the new leadership also was unable to inject the much-needed vibrancy into the affairs of the Association and it became necessary to effect changes again in 1973.
Early 1973, SWAG executive was once again reshuffled 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; and Mr. Ebo Quansah, also then of the Ghanaian Times, as Deputy Secretary. Mr. Addo-Twum was made Honorary Treasurer.
Developments under New leadership
SWAG made gains under Oheneba Charles' leadership. The awards night and the SWAG Cup match were institutionalised. The Oheneba Charles administration also purchased 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.
Thus, in consultation with the Patrons, Mr. Joe Aggrey, then Group Sports Editor of the Daily Graphic (who later became a Deputy Minister of Sports), was appointed President. Mr. Francis Assuah of Ghanaian Times, and later Editor of Weekly Spectator, became the Vice President. The late Mr. Akwasi Atta Amoah, then of the Weekly Spectator, was made Secretary, with Mr. Felix Abyateye of the Daily Graphic as Deputy Secretary. Mr. Sammy Aduagyei of Ghanaian Times was made the Treasurer.
The Joe Aggrey administration continued the good work of their predecessor.
SWAG decided to move away from the era of appointing executives to the era of electing executives. A new constitution was therefore promulgated to pave way for democratic elections.
The first ever SWAG elections were held on Saturday, October 4, 1997 at the Association's Club House. Mr. Joe Aggrey and Ebo Quansah were returned unopposed as President and Vice President, respectively. Other officers were Messrs Emmanuel Amoako (Secretary), Christian Abbew (Assistant Secretary, and Kwesi Brew (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 was appointed Deputy Minister of Sports. Mr. Quansah was confirmed President at the polls in 2002. Mr. Kwabena Yeboah, Editor of Africa Sports, became the Vice President. Other officers were Messrs Emmanuel Amoako, Secretary; Maurice Quansah, Asst. Secretary; Rosalind Amoh, Treasurer; Ben Ohene Ayeh and Kwame Baah-Nuako (Executive Members).
At the end of the Ebo Quansah administration, Mr. Ackah Anthony was elected President to take over. Mr. Christian Abbew became the Vice President with Mr. Richard Avornyotse as Secretary and Mr. William Ezah (GNA) as Deputy Secretary. Ms Veronica Commey (GNA) became Treasurer with Mr. Emmanuel Amponsah (Ghanaian Times) and George Lawson (GBC) as Executive Members.
At the elections on February 26, 2011, Mr. Anthony, Mr. Ezah and Ms Commey retained their positions. Mr Ben Ohene Ayeh became the Vice President. Mr. Sammy Heywood Okine became Deputy General Secretary, and Messrs Mathias Tibu and Frank Ampadu became Executive members.
In 2015, the Association went to the polls again. Kwabena Yeboah was elected President unopposed. Maurice Quansah became the Vice President with William Ezah retaining the position of General Secretary. Thomas Boakye-Agyeman was elected as the Deputy General Secretary. Rosalind Amoh was elected as Treasurer, with George Larry Botchway and Charles Osei Asibey as Executive members.
Mr. Kwabena Yeboah aka “President for Life” retained the presidency position during the October 2019 election with Maurice Quansah as Vice President, Charles Osei Asibey as General Secretary, Thomas Boakye-Agyeman as Deputy General Secretary, Rosalind Amoh as Treasure, with Ohene Brenya Bampoe and Otuo Acheampong Barima Boadaa as Executive Members.
SWAG IS FOR ALL SPORTS JOURNALISTS
As the foremost voluntary body for sports journalists for five decades and the only such group duly recognised and affiliated to the world sports journalists body AIPS and the GJA, SWAG has in the last few years under the current administration led by Kwabena Yeboah embarked on a nationwide mobilization exercise to form Regional Associations for SWAG and organized specialized training for Sports Journalist.
Volta Branch - Inaugurated
Ashanti Branch - Inaugurated
GIJ Chapter - Inaugurated
Brong Zone - Inaugurated
Western Region - Inaugurated
Eastern Region - Inaugurated
AUCC Chapter - Inaugurated
Upper West - Mobilization
Northern Region - Inaugurated
Central Region - Mobilization>
SWAG has a powerful board of patrons, comprising of distinguished sports and public personalities. They include Mr. Walter Esposito, the Chief Patron, H.E. Amarkai Amarteifio, Amb. Ray Quarcoo, Mr. Kofi Badu, Mr. Kwame Ofosu-Bamfo (Sikkens), Dr. Sam Jonah, Oheneba Charles, Mr. Assad Mallah, Mr. Joe Lartey, Madam Gifty Annan-Myers, and Mawuko Afadzinu.
Over the years, SWAG lost some eleven (11) of its Patrons namely, Messrs Assad Mallah, Messrs B.K. Edusei, Dennis Beesley, D.G. Hathiramani, S.K. Mainoo, H.P. Nyemitei, B.A. Holdbrook-Smith, Zac Bentum, Nene E.T. Kwashie, Mrs. Theodosia Okoh, Nana Gyamfi Kumi (C.K. Gyamfi), and Dr. Yaw Nkansa-Gyane. [May their souls rest in peace].
SWAG is affiliated to the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), the international body for sports writers. AIPS has been in existence since 1924. SWAG has been represented at various international congresses of AIPS over the years.
SECRETARIAT AND CLUB HOUSE
One of the biggest assets of SWAG, apart from the members, is a Club House at Dansoman in Accra. However, currently, SWAG operates from an administrative office at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Plans are far advanced to renovate the house and turn it into a modern hostel facility with conference room, IT centre, offices, gymnasium, shops, entertainment centre, bar, restaurant.