Volunteers, a major player in every major tournament comes with thrills, excitement and challenges in serving different people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
The tournament, which started from 17 November 2018 till 1 December 2018 in the Ghanaian cities of Accra and Cape Coast, produced some unforgettable moments especially for Nigeria, who edged South Africa 4-3 on penalties for a record extending ninth title.
However, off the pitch, the volunteers were the key actors providing assistance in the areas of media, hospitality, protocol, marketing, ticketing among others.
Over 200 volunteers were deployed for the tournament mostly students from tertiary institutions who availed themselves as and when their services was needed, sometimes even at odd times in the quest to make the first ever Women’s Africa Cup of Nations hosted in Ghana live up to expectation.
Rosalind Amoh, an experienced journalist, was the Media Coordinator for the Accra venue, which hosted no less than eight matches including the opening and the final.
Together with her team of about 14 volunteers, they had the challenge of dealing with the demands of the journalists during the two-week period in the areas of accreditation and other media related support services.
According to her, she was thrilled to be part of the historic moment for the first ever continental women’s football tournament hosted in the West African country.
She said the journey has not been easy but the zeal to see a successful tournament was the focus.
''The road hasn’t been that smooth but helping as a volunteer was worth it, it afforded me the opportunity to learn from other people and also to share. We had different cultures and attitude but as a volunteer it was very important to remain calm, just to see that work went on without emotions”.
In her team were a couple of journalists including Michael Okuley, who works with the national broadcaster, who said it was all fun serving African football and contributing towards making the tournament a success.
“As a football ardent, I have enjoyed being part of this football tournament in the capacity of a volunteer, it has given me the opportunity to know more about other journalists and more about their operations.
“I would have loved to watch and report as a sports journalist, but volunteering prevented it. I had some tough times dispensing my duties, but it was worth it” he said.
Major sport events can bring vitality to a community, which may be considerable economic benefits from visitor spending, increased community profile, and job creation Sport and economic regeneration in cities, according to Clement Osei Aboagye, volunteer leader.
He further noted that, though the tournament brought some economic gains to Ghana and the hosting cities, he as a volunteer also gained knowledge about some journalist he had to give assistance to.
“I was with some of the foreign journalist helping in different capacities and it really thought me a lot. We had so many things to discuss about on the tournament and CAF organized tournament.
“Though there were some tensed moments with journalists who wanted things done their own way, I was happy to be able to assist one way or the other when my services was needed. I would give in to it again at any given time”.
Thelma Doeyo Amatey, enjoying sports at a distant for years also shared her experience as a volunteer for the first time in her life, which she wished it never ended.
According to her it has been an honour and looking forward to more CAF tournaments, where she could volunteer again even if it’s outside Ghana.
“Being in the team of media assistance exposed me to top industry players, which happens to be my field of study, though it has not been easy, it has been worth my time serving my country and CAF and hoping to do more at any given time”.
Major sport events refer to one‐time or perhaps annual sport competitions, as opposed to leagues and being part of a work that requires all the attention, calmness, energy and tactics, volunteering at the 11th edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations has been worth the time and struggle.