If the fiasco that characterised the Inter-Participating Nations
Jamboree that followed the Ghana 2008 draw last October had any lessons
for the Local Organising Committee, those lessons did not have any
effect on the gentlemen whose job it is the activities related to the
20-day football fiesta.
In as much as football is the main agenda, action on the fields would take just about less than three hours on match days and fans would definitely have to find other interesting outlets to enjoy themselves.
With three days to go for the opening, the LOC may be ready to roll the tournament proper but they do not seem ready to successfully run the side shows that usually give such competitions their entertainment and leisure spin-offs.
This is because as at last Monday, a number of 21 artistes the LOC had listed to presumably perform at its concerts to be hosted at selected venues during the competition were yet to be contacted by the LOC.
Some of the artistes billed to perform are Samini, Mzbel, Obuor and A. B. Crentsil, Becca, King Ayisoba, Obrafuor, Kwaw Kese, Kwaku Gyasi and Grace Ashy.
With the exception of Samini whose manager could not be reached, the managers of the artistes listed above knew nothing of the concerts the LOC had presumably scheduled on match days.
The managers of King Ayisoba and Obuor & A.B. Crentsil, however, said they were contacted some time ago but hadn’t heard from the LOC since then.
According to Mr Kwame Karikari, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship at the LOC, he was surprised the artistes were saying they did not know anything about the concerts.
Mr Karikari who stated that the LOC was organising the concerts with an events management company, said all the 21 artistes had been contacted.
“I have personally spoken to about 12 of them but I guess they are saying they do not know anything about the concerts because we are yet to sign contracts with them. This should be done by Thursday (today).
When Graphic Showbiz pointed it out to him that today might be too late as it was likely the artistes may be committed to other engagements and may not be available and even if they were, there was little time to rehearse, Mr Karikari said he was sure the LOC would be able to secure the services of at least 18 of the 21 artistes.
“ Anyway, we do not need all the numbers to successfully stage a concert. Also, the artistes will not perform with live bands so rehearsals will not be a problem”, he added.
Mr Karikari didn’t agree with Showbiz when it was again pointed out to him that the low publicity and the non-commitment of the artistes to their plans was due to the fact that the entertainment aspect of the tournament had not been on their priority list.
“The list of 21 artistes was completed last November. It was done a few weeks after the draw but we were not able to seal any formal deals with the musicians due to budgetary constraints.
Originally, we were even going to get about 50 artistes to perform each day of the tournament but realised that would add up to cost.
So with the 21, there will be eight shows in Accra, seven in Kumasi and five each in Tamale and Sekondi respectively.”
According to Mr Karikari, although the LOC is not providing the funds, they are partnering with others to come out with other entertainment programmes.
“Aside what we are organising ourselves, there are other shows by individual bodies. We are in partnership with them but not funding the shows.
Tomorrow, for instance, there is a concert at the National Theatre featuring Meiway. Then on Saturday the official pre-Ghana 2008 jam dubbed MTN Go Africa Concert put together by Charterhouse is scheduled for the Independence Square.
This will also showcase international aritistes like Steel Pulse, Malaika, Blu 3 as well as Samini, Tic Tac among others.
There are also two shows by Lipo Productions on February 1 and 2 which will be hosted at the International Conference Centre and the La Beach respectively,” he said.
The Ghana 2008 competition begins on Sunday, January 20, and ends on February 10. The tournament which starts with a match between Ghana and Guinea at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra will feature 16 countries from the continent.
The various matches will be played at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, Sekondi Stadium, Essipon and Tamale Stadium at Tamale.