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Beach soccer can boost tourism in Ghana – Awoonor

Excitement with heightened anticipation is building up ahead of the climax of the 2014 Hogbetsotso Festival in Keta, in the Volta region of Ghana. The festival will have a major sports feature this year as the Ghana Beach Soccer Association (GBSA) will outdoor the Hogbetsotso Beach Soccer Classic.

Saturday 1st November will also play host to a number of events under the distinguished patronage of the King of Anlo Togbi Sri III.

With a record surge in tourism over the past few years, the CEO of the Aborigines Beach Resorts, Mr. Mitch Woollams Awoonor, believes beach soccer can marry festivals to be an additional attraction as the new frontier in Ghanaian tourism especially along the coastal belt.

"I have observed what pertains in other countries like Costa Rica, Portugal, Brazil and some parts of the the Americas with beach soccer. In the same way, the sport can boost tourism if given the needed push and support here in Ghana. By developing and promoting beach soccer, we automatically develop the coastal areas of the country thus attracting new tourists and potential businesses, create jobs and to bring revenue for the country".

Mr Awoonor was speaking from the venue for the games, the picturesque and serene Aborigines Beach Resort which is the the biggest in the Volta Region and rated as one of the best in Ghana.

Coincidentally, the region and community is home to double GBSA league Champions, Keta Sunset Sports, who are gearing up for what is expected to be the biggest beach soccer showcase in Ghana since the league commenced in 2011.

With just four weeks to end the 2014 season, the spectacular Hegbotsosto festival of the Chiefs and people of Anloga in the Volta region will certainly provide record spectators and the perfect setting for over half a dozen beach soccer matches.

CEO of Keta Sunset Sports, Ruben Adjahoe remains upbeat about Keta's readiness for the games;  "We are expecting thousands of people for the festival and games on Saturday and we are fully prepared to welcome Ghanaians, tourists and corporate bodies to this beautiful venue".

With local entertainment to match the white sandy beaches, live band music, acrobatic displays and cultural dances, the beach soccer teams hope to leave a positive indelible impression on the tens of thousands expected to attend.

The President of the GBSA Yaw Ampofo Ankrah also reiterated that beach soccer is not just a sport but a culture with people at the heart of it. ''It is no secret that beach leisure, entertainment and culture is what brings out the passion in beach soccer. Apart from producing great athletes, it could be the catalyst that attracts a higher volume of tourists to Ghana and certainly create jobs for the unemployed youth''.

Ampofo-Ankrah emphasized that additionally, the national beach soccer team known as the Black Sharks could help promote Ghana tourism beyond boundaries.

Other distinguished guests expected to grace the festival include MCE of Keta Hon. Sylvester Tornyeavah, MP of Anlo Hon. Clement Humado, MP of Keta Hon. Richard Quashigah, President of the Volta Foundation Dumega Raymond Okudzeto among others.

The 2014 Ghana Beach Soccer League is expected to come to a close on Saturday 29th November at the La beach Soccer Arena in Accra.