Sports News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Source: Nana S. Achampong
J. Luther Arthur and Emil Mawuli Djameh may not be the wealthiest football team owners by any account: that description is more fitting for the likes of mining magnate Patrice Motsepe of South African Premier Soccer League club Mamelodi Sundowns F.C., Egyptian businessman Assem Allam who owns Hull City FC, and Congolese tycoon and politician Moïse Katumbi Chapwe, owner of the famous Tout Puissant Mazembe (formerly Englebert).
But the duo has something more enviable: Arthur and Djameh are young, educated risk-takers, innovative, and above all out-the-box thinkers.
The two young gentlemen are the owners of Akosombo FC, defending champions of the Division 2 league that just resumed. Last season, Akosombo FC amassed the highest points ever in the history of the Division, stashing away a neat 36 points.
To qualify to play in Division 2 in November 2015, the team managed to brave through the 3rd league playoffs without losing any of the matches against established teams. Last Sunday, they started the current league by demolishing Tallons FC 4 to 1 at the final whistle.
Many may ascribe the phenomenal success to the fact that team runs its own Academy of 60 young starlets (male and female), or that it has its own development center, or that it owns its own fine stadium, or that it has a loyal fan base, but truly speaking, Akosombo FC’s preeminent asset is its management duo of owners J. Luther Arthur and Mawuli Djameh. They bring to the game a certain roundness that money alone cannot buy.
This season, three of Akosombo FC’s key players – center defender Fawzi Ali, right wing Ghislain Kwesi Samuh, and striker Emmanuel Aidoo – are absent, being on loan to Sportove Kluby Blava 1928 in Slovakia, but the Akosombo-based squad has amply beefed its ranks with reinforcement from its Academy.
For its second bid to make it to Division 1, it has brought in fit, eager and hearty strikers Haruna Salihu Issifu, Francis Otoo and Bismark Owusu.
As if to prove to the world that it has the formula to establish and maintain its hold on this league Division, it pummeled its opponent Tallons FC to powder last Sunday: Francis Nanor scored two goals, followed by one each from Emmanuel Aidoo and Eric Asamoah. What was left of Tallon’s shattered pride was salvaged by Kwesi Ernest.
Ghanaweb caught up with Akosombo FC’s management duo for comments on issues in Ghana sports today. Following are excerpts.
The state of football in Ghana
Mawuli Djameh : I think the Accra Sports Stadium is emblematic of the state of football in the country.
It is about to collapse. How can an edifice like that, an asset that is commercialized year- round…how can it be falling apart? Give it to competent people to run it.
J. Luther Arthur: I don’t know what some of us have against maintenance. Maintenance is much, much cheaper than renovations. Basic business sense
The proposed National Sports Bill
Mawuli Djameh: It holds promise and I believe all should get together, get behind it, and make it a reality.
J. Luther Arthur: True, but sometimes I think it is all English. At the end of the day, funding is the most important consideration in football. I don’t think the bill addresses funding.
Doing football business in Eastern Region
Mawuli Djameh: The regional FA has some serious administrative issues. It delays with publishing the league’s start date. This throws off teams and affects preparations for the entire season.
J. Luther Arthur: And, just as in other parts of the country, there’s the problem of partnership. This business of soccer is very demanding, but the returns are incalculable.
What we need is for businessmen and women to partner to clubs and academies and clubs for a win win deal and also utilize the marketing platform that football offers.
The problem with football
Mawuli Djameh: It is sad, but the recent case regarding Sule Muntari shows that we still have a long way to go. It showed issues of racism, weaknesses in FIFA, and lack of leadership on the part of GFA.
No matter how one looks at it, Sule was treated unfairly by the ban, and I am not sure why GFA was unable to respond promptly.
As for FIFA, the less said the better. Fair Play must mean fairness for all. Racism, whether against African peoples or Jewish people, must be condemned equally. somehow, anti-Semitic taunts attract severe penalties, while anti-African insults are treated lightly.
Opportunities in football business
J. Luther Arthur: The opportunities in football are infinite. There are so many soccer talents in Ghana.
The promising environment in the Eastern Region alone can sustain the entire country’s FA dreams.
Sports is providing more and more employment to the youth. It engages them and gets them off the streets. Besides the opportunity cost, football is also changing lives in so many ways.
And then look at the growth of female soccer in the country. The opportunities are infinite.
And to top it all, we now have an organization, StarTimes, in charge of TV rights, live telecast of games, video coverage. I think, with a little work, the future is very bright.
J. Luther Arthur: We will be the league leaders of Division 2 again. And ready for the FA Cup.
Mawuli Djameh: Watch out for Akosombo FC, Division 1.
Emil Mawuli Djameh and J. Luther Arthur, owners of Akosombo FC