For many lovers of eSports, the news of the eSports Ghana establishing an eSports academy in Ghana would be such a welcoming one. Their excitement would, of course, not be because of their obsession with eSports but because of the essence of setting up eSports academies.
In one of our previous posts, we discussed how setting up academies to train young ones is an essential way of securing success for a long time. The US has already started implementing their academic policy, and it is great to know that the Ghana eSports association are on the verge of setting up an eSports academy in Ghana.
JBKlutse.com understands that the academy will not only train young ones for the future but will also provide job opportunities for many struggling unemployed citizens in the country. The academy will employ camera operators, shout casters, technicians, photographers and many others to help run the academy effectively.
This is certainly a strong indication of the progress the Ghana eSports Association is making in the country, and also provides a strong basis as to why government agencies and other private institutions should see eSports as a venture worth investing in.
In an exclusive interview with our own Papa Kayson, the President of eSports Ghana, Ebenezer Kwesi Hayford, walks us through the Ghana eSports academy.
An exclusive interview with the President of eSports Ghana on the Ghana eSports academy
INTERVIEWER: I must admit that these are very interesting times for eSports in Ghana because we have seen the association organizing several international friendlies for our eSports players and now the news of the eSports academy. First of all, talk to us about how important these international friendlies are to advancing the course of eSports in Ghana.
PRESIDENT: I think these international friendlies are to help gain the needed exposure on the international scene and also to help us prepare effectively for the upcoming Africa eSports championship. So far, we have played Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica which have been very helpful in achieving the aforementioned aims. I strongly believe these games have helped us to make progress but, of course, we need more of these friendlies to help us build our capacity as an eSports country.
INTERVIEWER: What is the Ghana eSports academy all about?
PRESIDENT: Ghana eSports academy is all about creating opportunities through eSports for the younger generation. The potential of eSports is huge as technology expands and we plan on taking advantage of this by using Ghana eSports Academy as a solid avenue to professionally train individuals to become eSports athletes, shout casters, coaches, administrators and many others.
INTERVIEWER: For how long has the academy been running?
PRESIDENT: Well, the academy is yet to kick off, and this is basically because we are still putting measures in place to make it a strong one. What we are looking at now is a space to set up, and we are hoping that by September we will be good to go.
INTERVIEWER: Where will the academy be located?
PRESIDENT: For now, we are looking at Accra Digital Center. But of course, we have our eyes on other areas as well.
INTERVIEWER: Tell us more about the eSports academy plan
PRESIDENT: We will kick off with our streaming studio, gaming arena or hub and library. Pro Gamers will have a streaming slot every week to stream to their channels with professional broadcast setup. We are also partnering Kiddie eSports to run boot camps and tournament for kids and also have a juvenile team for kids. The females are also not left out at all. The academy will be the home of the first female team from Ghana and Africa with the name the “Queens” aka Yaa Asantewaa Gaming team.
For us including females in the academy is very important because we want to avoid the case of gender bias or inequality. So we are hoping to recruit more girls and train them in various eSports genres to have a team to compete in female tournaments on the international stage.
INTERVIEWER: Are there any enrollment plans?
PRESIDENT: For persons who would want to get deeper into eSports, they will have to sign up to undertake either a 3, 6 or 9 months course in professional gaming.
INTERVIEWER: What are some of the benefits that enrollees will gain?
PRESIDENT: For us, it is not only about eSports education. So although enrollers would have the opportunity to travel around the world to compete in international competitions they would gain other related benefits. And these related benefits could be personal development, entrepreneurship, a bit of vocation training, ICT training, graphic design training, coding, photography, Video Editing, and other career-oriented programs.
INTERVIEWER: Now you have talked about the benefits enrollers would be gaining; how does the academy benefit those who are unemployed?
PRESIDENT: Certainly, the setting up of the academy will create job opportunities for many people. Because we will need a management team, instructors, technical team and professional gamers as well. Also in the future when our studio is ready we would employ cameramen, sound technicians and other production personnel so the eSports academy will provide job opportunities for people.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have any sponsors on board yet?
PRESIDENT: Yes, but the negotiations are still in the initial stages. The obvious challenge is that eSports is a new culture and most of the institutions do not understand the space but I am confident they will come on board so we kick start this year.
INTERVIEWER: Aside from getting more sponsors on board, are there any challenges the association is facing?
PRESIDENT: The most obvious one has to do with finance. We are a non- profit organisation so our workforce is volunteering. This makes finding people to work for the organisation very challenging because at the end of the day we need more money to pay our workers and run tournaments as well.
Another challenge is getting the government to recognise and accept eSports as a socio-economic venture for the youth. We have presented documents to almost all state institutions that deal with youth, technology, and education but unfortunately, it appears that certain stereotypical perceptions are preventing them from helping us. It is really sad because we have done all possible to show that gaming or eSports is not just for kids or an activity meant for betting and gambling but one that is capable of creating job opportunities for citizens.
Undoubtedly, the setting up of a Ghana eSports academy is a step in the right direction and a move that will certainly help the Ghana eSports association to advance the course of eSports in the country. But this goal cannot be achieved alone. The association needs the help of the government and private and public institutions to help promote the course of eSports in the country.
The association is doing all that it can to promote a sport that in the near future will provide several opportunities for several citizens in the country and it will be a big shame that this dream will not be realized because the government and other state institutions were hesitant to come on board to help.