A former National Science and Maths Quiz (NMSQ) contestant has urged competing schools not to underrate any school as the competition enters the one-eighth stage.
“No school is a small school because the students are different” Alfred Addo-Yobo, who is a the Business and Strategy Analyst with the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, told participants at a mentorship session for the 2018 edition of NSMQ.
He said he had come to learn this the hard way in 2006 when he represented his alma mater Achimota School in a knock-out stage against St. Thomas Aquinas.
He was the captain of a team of three students picked from over 2000 students to represent their school and they showed their superiority beating Ghana National College by a difference of 35 points.
In the next stage, Achimota School, an elite second cylce institution, faced their Accra counterpart St. Thomas Aquinas which had won their previous contest by just two points.
The 2006 Science and Maths Quiz contestant told Joy News’ Maxwell Agbagba, St. Thomas Aquinas’ struggled to qualify and their superior win induced a feeling of complacency.
The 2006 contest was held just around the same time Ghana was competing for the first-time ever at the World Cup in Germany. As an excited nation watched, the Achimota School science and maths team also took liberties to watch the game.
“We had so much confidence in ourselves…we were cocksure….we were too relaxed”, he remembered that night with his team mates Agyeman Badu Owusu Ansah and Kofi Aninakwah.
Although they read their notes, he said “we knew, we knew enough” to beat St. Thomas Acquinas which had never won the competition before 2006.
Achimota, who were 1998 and 2004 winners, came into the 2006 contest as favourites.
But Alfred Addo-Yobo said his team were dealt a shock of the lives when a Thomas Aquinas side creditably dumped Achimota out of the competition to spark an upset.
“We wept so hard”, Alfred Addo-Yobo remembered. “We knew we had lost an opportunity to make our school proud”, he said.
Achimota has not won the competition since Alfred Addo-Yobo’s team lost an opportunity they considered easy to progress. The school has in recent years struggled at the competition.
Achimota SHS was not a seeded school in the 2018 edition after they were eliminated by fellow Achimota-based St. John’s John’s Grammar School at the regional stage of the 2017 contest. That loss meant they could not participate in the main stage of the national competition.
They also suffered a shock 2016 defeat to less fancied Nifa SHS at the one-eighth stage after making it to the semi-finals in 2015.