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Sports Features of Friday, 21 January 2022

Source: Nana Kwaku Agyemang

Black Stars: Tell them to stand down!

Executive Council members of the GFA with Sports Minister, Mustapha Ussif Executive Council members of the GFA with Sports Minister, Mustapha Ussif

They say he who pays the piper calls the tune and nowhere demonstrates this more capably than the boy and massa relationship between the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Ministry of Youth & Sports (MOYS).

The GFA is made up of two separate entities, a Company Limited by Guarantee and also registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and the Ministry we all know what that is or isn’t as the case may be!

Now the GFA has a mandate that says that it has been formed to govern Association Football in Ghana, representing Ghana on the continent or anywhere else around the globe.

The challenge is that the GFA does not have the funds required to run the organization/business and so always end up going to Government through MOYS for financial support so that the national teams can represent Ghana. In many instances the GFA may have secured corporate financial support but it is not always enough!

Following the shameful exit from the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon we have all sighted a statement to the media about the Ghana Football Association, demanding an urgent meeting to discuss the “abysmal performance and early exit of the Black Stars”.

It also went on to point out that the Ministry had done its best in ensuring that all the resources required were laid bare including the training camp in Qatar without any encouraging output. I hope they have at least followed this press release up with a letter to the GFA requesting a meeting. In fact, it should have been done first but I doubt it was at all.

There is a challenge I have with this posturing by MOYS because they perceive that the Ghana Black Stars belongs to the Government of the day but it shouldn’t because they have a governmental mandate which is fixed on such issues as the Economy, Education, Health Care, Employment, Housing etc.

The GFA have sucked up in my opinion for far too long to the MOYS simply because they have not figured out a way to make the GFA Ltd a viable business entity generating its own finances so that it can manage its own affairs. It is so unfortunate because one of the problems the GFA faces and football in general is the interference into the business of the GFA by the MOYS!

They want to and they do appoint coaches and dictate on so many other issues when they have no business doing so, they should get on in ensuring good accountable transparent governance. It may be something that culturally we have accepted to be the norm but now it must stop and the GFA must learn to stand on its feet.

Football is its product and it must learn how to manage it so it can be packaged, promoted and marketed to corporate Ghana as an attractive product to be associated with. I am not suggesting Government should not make any contribution in the future but it must relinquish its hold from around the neck of the GFA and this will force the commercialization of Ghana football.

The GFA has to be courageous in severing such a relationship because it is not in the interest of the GFA or football in general in Ghana. The GFA is an autonomous body and that cuts across the board of all its prescribed functions. The current GFA/MOYS relationship has been untenable for so many years and the GFA cannot allow itself to be held to ransom and bullied every time it needs some pre-financing or if it wants to appoint or dismiss a Senior National Team Coach.

All of those things have to stop and that means the GFA must really step up to the plate or simply hand over all the national teams to the Government and make do managing our local leagues. We all know that would not work because it would be deemed as government interference which could only lead to our football being banned from participating continentally and internationally. Clearly that is not in our best interest either but that type of relationship must come to an immediate end!

Tell them to the face “stand down!”