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Sports Features of Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Source: Kwame Dwomoh-Agyemang

Aduana’s day of shame: A blight on Ghana football

Aduana Stars Aduana Stars

Utterly ridiculous, shameful, repugnant are just a few words to describe what I was picking up prior to the Kotoko-Aduana game at Dormaa.

My friends (crew for the coverage) had made the seven-hour-plus journey from Accra on Sunday, all in their effort to bring probably the biggest game of matchday 18 to Ghanaians all over the globe.

It was past midday and I had just gotten my clothes to head towards Ghana Television when the call from my boss, Edwina Oppong, came through: “Sorry we cannot cover the game.

Some fans have sworn not to allow the crew and with their very unruly behavior, we simply cannot guarantee the safety of the team members.”

The natural thing to do was to find out why some fans of the home team would, against all reasoning, prevent the coverage of a match. The answer I got from the team got me completely baffled.

My understanding was that these recalcitrant fans were unhappy with the failure to broadcast their game against regional rivals Berekum Chelsea and for them, this was the best opportunity to express their anger.

Sounds very strange, but this is exactly what transpired in Dormaa on Monday, the same club that were literally on their knees for the world to have a feel of their decisive matchday 29 game against Wa All Stars last season.

They feared the worst going into the game and wanted the game to be played on very far grounds. And this was only a few months ago.

In the ensuing melee, the Professional League Board issued a statement expressing its disgust at the actions of the locals and by extent the club while spokesperson Tamimu Issah was confident the acts of a few disgruntled elements was not going to affect the body’s hard attempts to win over future corporates for sponsorship.

I can understand he was only doing his job to quickly protect the brand and dispel any fears that potential sponsors may have, but that is where I respectfully disagree with my brother.

All over the world, brands are looking at the slightest opportunity to reach out to their potential and existing consumers and television plays a powerful role in that. One only needs to have a look at the figures from the major European leagues with regards to television and the figures are frighteningly good.

Growing up as a kid, my best bet for following the Ghana Premier League was live commentary on GBC radio, delayed footages on Sporting Time, and Sports Highlights, or making my way to the various stadia on matchdays.

Numbers and interest make it impossible for all of us to be at match venues and television has now not only become central to that but an opportunity for brands to raise their profile and rake in some decent profits.

GFA President Kwesi Nyantekyi has consistently done his bit to let the world know that the GPL would probably fall within the top three on the continent, quality-wise, and there are many of his ilk who share in that. Unfortunately, that does not clearly resonate in terms of finances.

As for the argument of the economy not being big enough to draw corporate sponsorship, it’s honestly untenable. How I wish the football people in this country would contract professionals to do such surveys for them and get to know the millions that these same brands in Ghana pump into advertisements year in and out.

I hosted the game between Aduana and Ashgold where Bright Addae’s goal found its way unto global stardom, after as many views on CNN. Do we for a moment know how many eyes and ears would have heard about the Ghana Premier League for the first time and how that could have drawn traffic to the league?

It is sad how we seem to take things for granted in our football space. Is the British economy bigger and stronger than the Americans’? Hell no.

What the English have done is to ensure that their games are in everyone’s face and the returns are staggering. The South Africans, the North Africans and to an extent the East Africans are constantly on the lookout to maximise returns from the sport.

How on earth does a country like Tanzania woo players from Ghana all in the name of better wages? Laughable, isn’t it. This is not rocket science. Why we allow a few disgruntled individuals to consistently tarnish the brand really saddens me and I am sure loads of people out there.

I pray it would not be business as usual with regards to the punishment to be meted out to the recalcitrant offenders. I know Mr Commey is a good man and has been let down by his fans.

As an Executive Committee Member of the Football Association, though, he has got to do more to erase this fast establishing bad name for the locals within his football space. We cannot continue like this and expect manna to fall from heaven.

Financial injection is key to the business model of every business entity. It should be the guiding principle before we continue to lose our players to Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, and more. The next moment, they will be headed to Comoros, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Central African Republic, and more. Then we would know how bad it has become.

PLB, stand up and be counted.