Oti Akenteng

Former Technical Director of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Francis Oti Akenteng, is disappointed with the decision of the Executive Council not to renew his mandate.

Oti, who was appointed acting technical director of the association in 2009, was handed a letter last month, notifying him of the FA’s decision not to extend his tenure at the directorate.

Having served as CAF Technical Education Officer and FA Technical Director for a combined fourteen years, and working alone, he believes it is unfair to exit at a time the FA intends to employ personnel to support the work of his successor.

“For the sake that the directorate is now recognised and experts will be employed for the technical director just to be supervising, that one, I must say I’m a bit disappointed because, I have worked a lot; I have done so much on my own for it to be where it is, and now that people will be coming in where your work probably would be much seen by the country or people and you’re being asked to step aside, that’s my only worry,” the GFA and CAF coaches examiner told Joy Sports.

He added; “that, notwithstanding, I am sure I will be used in one way or the other. I am sure my contribution will still come in one way or the other.”

The former CAF Education Officer for Ghana appears hurt by claims that his understanding of the game is archaic and that, he occupied empty space.

To paint a picture of the mammoth responsibility he had as Technical Director, he said, coaching, youth football development, women’s football, grassroots, sports medicine, refereeing, administration, acting director of Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence and many other domains he managed single-handedly.

He believes people never understood the scope of his work and how he managed all these domains without any support from other experts, adding that, they might be tempted to compare his reign with his successor, insisting it would be unfair.

“When they employ people, someone will do something simple and comparatively, they will say ‘this man is doing better than Oti Akenteng’. Probably, if Oti Akenteng were to have the resources the person has, he would have worked a hundred times better,” he noted.

Despite the disappointment, he takes solace in the fact that he was revered across the globe. He was the only African to join eight other football technical men to write the FIFA Technical Directors’ Handbook in 2016 in Switzerland.

He led the Technical Directors Youth Football Development Programme in South Africa when six other Confederations assembled in South Africa.

This, he says, is satisfactory.

“I am so proud that I headed the technical directorate and built it to where it is. It is not easy to be at the pinnacle of a whole football association where all the technical decisions are on you,” he said.

“It is here [Ghana] that people don’t appreciate being a technical director. I have been to so many countries and was held and treated like a King.

“I was held in high esteem any time I went to seminars even in African countries. Ireland treated me like a King when I went there for two weeks. I represented Africa at the world level as a technical consultant, I led seminars on youth football development many times, so it is not a small thing to be the head of the technical department of the Ghana Football Association and I am proud I headed that position”.

Oti, 65, says he is available to help the GFA anytime his services are required.

“I am always available to help any time I am called upon. Ghana gave me a lot and I am always willing to serve my country when those in charge think I can help”.

Oti Akenteng was appointed technical director of the GFA on March 1, 2009, and exited on March 31, 2020.