The Ghana Football Association (GFA) president Kwesi Nyantakyi was one of the most criticized bosses in the country in 2015.
The various people connected to the game of football in the country have been very critical of the association but the GFA boss and his team have on several occasions, defended their actions and inactions.
Kwesi Nyantakyi – GFA Boss
Citi FM’s sports journalist Rahman Osman has microscopically dissected some of the topical football issues and analysed how Kwesi Nyantakyi and his charges fared.
The bedrock of association football rests on how well the production chain at the grass root level is managed. This is the year where the GFA had to release a strongly worded statement to dismiss claims made by the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, alleged the governing body of the FA used the $2.3m FIFA funds meant for grass root football, to acquire luxurious cars for themselves.
According to him, he is yet to see any football pitch constructed by the FA during his stay in Ghana. The luxurious cars allegation may be unfounded but indeed, there is no evidence of a physical structure built by the GFA to develop grass root football in the year 2015.
They however organised a 5-day FIFA Grassroots Coaching course at the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence in Prampram, for those who handle football at the grassroot level so as to ensure that the talents of the young kids they handle are well developed. Though this is a great step in their attempt to develop grassroot football, one will expect a physical structure aside the Ghanaman Soccer Centre Of Excellence at least in the northern belt of the country.
League and Cups
The main duty of every football association is to make sure there is proper annual league for clubs in the country because these same clubs make up the association. In other jurisdictions the FAs don’t directly run their leagues and their duties have reduced to making laws and implementing the laws that govern the league. In Ghana, the elite division, that is the Ghana Premier League is yet to be autonomous from the FA not to talk of the lower divisions.
In the period under review (2015) Premier League started in January defying the routine calendar which was supposed to be 2014/15, all because the fate of the league was in the hands of King Faisal Babies who secured a court injunction on the league as a result of hard feelings on how they think the FA is failing to apply their own rules on Aduana Stars FC, who had breached a regulation which is supposed to attract point deductions.
Nevertheless with the case still pending in court, they were able to finally start the league with a packed fixture list that meant there will be many midweek games. Fortunately for the GFA, their disciplinary bodies were able to handle all the protest filed by clubs seeking point deduction from other clubs, the biggest being Obed Owusu’s eligibility to feature for Kotoko against Hearts Of Oaks.
Attendance at the various match venues were as usual not encouraging, with the lowest point being the low turn out at two ‘Super Clash’ involving Kotoko and Hearts, a fixture which always draws multitudes.
Officiating witnessed average performances, with clubs complaining week in week out especially when the battle for survival in the top flight got fierce. The competition in the league was fierce to the extent that 10 clubs were battling for survival with 2 game weeks to go. Even the winner of the title (Ashanti Gold SC) was decided at the end of the penultimate fixtures.
The National Division One League, organised by the GFA through the Division One League Board, went on as planned. Like every division one league season in Ghana, it was characterized by many board room issues in the various zone. These same board room issues have ruin every plan of the GFA to kick start another league season. 1sf it was the demotion of Techiman City who were found guilty of match fixing by the FA’s Ethics Committee.
They did challenge the decision and won, subsequently finishing top of the Zone One league to book their place in the Premier League. The next of the long board room issues was in Zone Three between Dreams FC who finished 1st in the zone and Tema Youth. Tema Youth challenged the eligibility of Dreams FC’s Cudjoe Mensah who doubles as Daniel Gozar in the books of the GFA.
The FA ruled to player had fraudulently changed his name but his club Dreams FC were not suffer point deductions. Tema Youth after exhausting all the FA legal channels went to the Court of Arbitration for Sports filing for an injunction on the start of a new season but their injunction request has been rejected. Barring any last minute legal case Abusua Dwarfs , Techiman City and Dreams FC will feature in the new season come next year.
The FA did organized 2 Cup competitions in 2015, one was successful the other a total failure. The FA Cup committee did organized the annual FA Cup well with the grand final between Medeama SC and Asante Kotoko pulling a full house at the Sekondi Essipong Stadium, a game Medeama won by 2 goals to 1. The Elite Cup was competition organized to keep the clubs busy when the fate of the league was in court in the infamous King Faisal versus GFA court issue.
The competition was going on as planned till Hearts Of Oaks and AshGold filed a protest against Kotoko for using Obed Owusu. Though the protest was in the league it brought out the fact that the Elite Cup is just a novelty competition with half baked regulations. The outcome of the protest with all the media bashing aimed at the FA made them to abandon the competition.
One thing this current FA has excelled in, is how well they have managed to handle the Black Stars. The senior national team was able to put behind them, all the troubles of Brazil 2014 to mount a challenge for the AFCON tittle. They reached the finals but managed to snatch defeat in the open jaws of victory throwing away 2 penalty kick lead in the shootout against Ivory Coast.
The 2017 AFCON qualification begun this year and they are comfortably leading their group with 2 wins out of 2 games. They’ve booked their place to the group stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. The home based black Stars failed to qualify for next year’s CHAN losing out to Ivory Coast.
The Black Meteors once again will not be at the Olympic Games after they were beaten by Congo. They did however qualify for the All Africa Games where they disgracefully got themselves knocked out from the group stages. The National U20 football team played in the African Youth Championship and came 4th booking a qualification ticket to the World Youth Championship in New Zealand. Unlike the previous sides managed by Silas Tetteh, the team failed to even make it to the quarter finals.
There was a no-show at the U17 championship as the country was serving a ban for fielding an unqualified player.
The annual Zonal Women’s league was staged with Ampem Darkoa Ladies and Hasaacas Ladies winning their zones. The title decider was held last weekend with Hasaacas Ladies retaining the title.
The Black Queens won a historic gold at the All African Games beating fellow giant Cameroon. The win was marred by winning bonus issues when the squad staged a protest to demand payment of monies owed them from qualification all the way to winning the gold.
President John Mahama came to their rescue but the damage had already been done.
The Black Princesses, coached by Didi Dramani were able to qualify for next year’s FIFA Women’s U20 World Championship, beating Ethiopia 6-2 on aggregate.
Summing up all the activities undertaken by the Ghana Football Association in the year 2015, they did an Okay job, even by our fallen standards. With few hours to the end of the year, we don’t know when the 2015/16 League Season will kick start.
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