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Sports Features of Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Illiteracy in local football

In the Ghanaian communities, football clubs were formed as symbol of the society or a particular section of the community. Names were coined using suburb of the community or foreign clubs supported by the team leaders. Football clubs were community owned till the emergence of millionaires into the game.

On the European soil, the story is not that different. Names like Manchester, Newcastle, Bilbao, Bremen and Nottingham are all cities used to name their community based clubs. The era of Roman Abramovic, Sheikh Kalifa and the Russian billionaires actually truncated European football just like it is beginning to affect our own domestic football.

The game of football thrives best when you have time for the players and supporters, not necessarily riches. Club owners must be experienced in the rudiments of the game, rather than just having large sums of money to buy houses, cars and luxurious salaries for the playing staff.

The bond between Jose Mourinho and his playing squad only sums up how important time is, to the game of football. Victor Kwame Ahiakpor, Alhaji Karim Grusah, Osei Pama, Nana kwame are all famous club owners whose teams, at one point, were simply dominant in the league. The Kpando based club, only needed 2 seasons to join the top flight league after being formed in 2002.

The owner of king Faisal, the outspoken Alhaji Karim Grunsah fell in love with the game in the 50s, the late Sly Tetteh once made liberty professionals the fans favourite. Osei Pama’s Tema Youth, only reminds us of what time and togetherness can do in Association Football.

A footballer is like a lady in her teens, they need time and attention. They love to be loved. Your money may not be enough to lure a player if his desires cannot be met by the club owners.

Before a club is formed, the owner must not necessarily be rich, but well connected to the club. Randy Abbey’s inclination to Lions now only confirms the story. The unfortunate thing, however, is that, most of these club owners are not educated. Not to read and write but to manage and be managed. That is what football is all about. Business!!!

Imagine, Alhaji Grunsah being a PhD holder in Administration, Victor Kwame Ahiakpor with a Doctorate Degree in Economics or Osei Pama having a Masters Degree in Administration. They could have impacted their clubs and Ghana football better.

Since the Professional League was inaugurated in 1993, most clubs have since perished or gone into liquidation. Where is Maxbees, Ghapoha, Kum Apem Stars, Yeji Elf, Adansiman, Neoplan Stars, Cornerstones, Okwawu United, or Zaytuna? Only riches and fame cannot keep a football club going forward.

Typical example is the case of QPR’s owner in London, who has no football background prior to buying the London club. He took the club to relegation in his first season, won only one match in the current campaign, after spending a fortune on world class players in the transfer market.

In the Upper West Region of Ghana, famous club owners like Mba Mahama, Oromah, or Med, have been into football for the past 3 decades. The unfortunate thing is that, none of these persons are educated. Players like Sadat Bukari, Ismail Amin, Ismail Ganiu, Hafiz Adams, Mumuni Abubakari, Ibrahim Sidik , all of Wa All stars, were groomed by the aforementioned names.

How will Nma Mahama package Anokye Stars, Oromah brand Rockets FC, Med package Power FC to the corporate world? This is where some education would have helped the Ghanaian club owners or administrators.

Far from blaming the FA, the association of club owners needs seminars to update their members on trending managerial practices. The issue of GFA coming in, must not be a necessity as the media can spearhead this move.

Football literacy must not necessarily be about Degree holders or PhD holders, but the new trends of the game must be rehearsed. In-service programmes, seminars and other educational programmes can be organized by the media, the FA or the PLB just to keep these persons in the system.

Ghana football cannot thrive without these kinds of resource persons, but until they are updated too, our clubs will keep on perishing or vanishing just like the vanishing spray recently introduced into the game. The Ghanaian club owners need some education of a sort.

Long live the local football

Long live our media system

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