Accra, GHANA – Staff of the U.S. Embassy, through a small grant from the J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust, are supporting the development and promotion of America’s national pastime in Ghana with a presentation of equipment to the Ghana Baseball and Softball Association. The 20-piece equipment donation of bats, balls and gloves will be used by Ghana’s junior and senior national teams as they prepare for upcoming international competitions.
“The equipment that was granted to us by the J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust is going to help Ghana’s Little League team in a long way, as we all know that Little League players grow to become big league players,” said Jamiu Salami, Ghana national head coach. “They need lots of attention and the gift from the Americans will help in the development of baseball in Ghana.”
Coach Salami continued: “Baseball and softball mean a lot to us and, as Ghana’s head coach, I will be glad if we can continue to work with the U.S. Embassy and other American entities in Ghana interested in helping us develop our talents and our playing facilities. I will be most grateful if our dreams of producing Ghanaian players in Major League Baseball become a reality through the Americans.”
The J. Kirby Simon Trust makes small grants on a competitive basis to individuals affiliated with U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. U.S. Embassy staff applied for a small grant in 2016 and received funding from the Trust to provide a selection of bats, balls and gloves to the Association.
U.S. Embassy Defense Attaché LtCol Jano Carlson added, “Just two months ago, we saw South Africa’s Gift Ngoepe become the first African-born player in Major League Baseball. We would absolutely love to see Ghanaians join the ranks of MLB players. We’ve played some friendly games against Ghanaian teams and have seen first-hand that they are truly exceptional players with tremendous passion for these sports.”
Carlson went on to say, “This kind gift from the Trust to Ghana’s baseball and softball teams provides much-needed equipment to both teams. We hope that this grant will help to grow our friendship even further and to attract new players — Ghanaian, American, and expat alike. Ultimately, we believe this grant is ‘Diplomacy through sport,’ by way of our Great American pastime.”
The J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust is a charitable fund established in the memory of Kirby Simon, a Foreign Service officer who died in 1995 while serving in Taiwan. The Trust is committed to expanding the opportunities for community service, professional fulfillment and personal well-being of Foreign Service officers, specialists and their families. The Trust has been funded with contributions from Kirby Simon’s colleagues, friends and relatives.