The President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwasi Nyantakyi has expressed satisfaction at the productive mix of the country’s football managers and political authorities.
In his end of year review of the 2006 season, Nyantakyi said Ghana has given practical meaning to FIFA’s call for a close collaboration between football associations and the political authorities.
“I will like to commend the government through the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports for a good collaboration between the two outfits”, he said.
In the review titled “2006 in Retrospect”, Nyantakyi said Ghana football possessed enormous potentials which could be nursed to become one of the best in the world with the necessary initiatives, calibre of personnel and resources and called for the support, counsel and prayers of all stakeholders in the management of the game.
He also praised various committees of the FA, including the Disciplinary, Appeals, Player Status, Division One League Board, Professional League Board and Referees Committees for a good work done.
He however thought the Black Stars deserved a better positioning in the FIFA ranking that saw the team finish the year as the 28th best after initially climbing to 23. He described the ranking methodology as strange.
The following is a reproduction of the full review.
2006 in Retrospect
A year ago, a new Ghana Football Association (GFA) management was constituted following directives from the world football governing body, FIFA, to that effect.
Since then we have not looked back in our drive to enhance the fortunes of the game here. As part of the efforts to develop the game, a Four-year Development Plan was drafted with clear policy objectives and guidelines.
Some of the targets set out in the plan may be summarized as follows:
1. To develop youth football and produce a wide pool of players for the national teams and domestic league clubs.
2. To assist clubs to build strong structures for their effective management.
3. To develop refereeing, coaching, sports medicine, administration and women’s football.
4. To build strong national teams that will take part in their respective African and World Competitions.
5. To ensure that Ghana is ranked amongst the top five in Africa and the top 20 in the world.
6. To build a financially self sufficient Association.
7. To re-structure the GFA secretariat into an enduring and robust one.
8. To develop an ICT infrastructure for the FA.
9. To assist clubs participating in African club competitions.
Within a short span of time, we have met some of the targets we set for ourselves.
We count among the top 6 in Africa and currently ranked as 28th in the World.
Two months ago, we were number 4 in Africa and 23rd in the world ranking.
By a strange methodology for the award of points, we lost some points and slipped from 23 to 28. This slip is without regard for the brilliant performances of the Black Stars in matches against Togo, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
Our youth development plan is quite elaborate and comprehensive and perhaps the most revolutionary in recent times.
For the first time in the history of the Association, we have planned to organise U -12, U-15 and U-17 age competitions for boys and U-13, U-16 and U-19 for girls.
A national technical group comprising coaches, referees, medical personnel and allied professionals have toured all the regions of Ghana except Accra.
They have successfully organised training courses in coaching, refereeing and youth development. A national school of soccer excellence will be formed at the heart of the youth development activities.
The national U-17 team has qualified for the Africa U-17 championship to be held in Togo in March 2007.
Though the U-20 team failed to qualify for the Africa Youth Championship to be held in the Congo in 2007, we have decided to keep the team together as the nucleus of our future U-23 team.
Some of the boys in the U-23 are capable of gaining selection to the Black Stars in the shortest time possible.
The clearest example yet is the case of Isaac Vorsah who has gained promotion to the U-23 team. The U-23 team has two important competitions to qualify for.
These are; the All African Games in Algeria and the Olympic games in China. The team is quite good being an assembly of some of the finest players in the domestic league.
2006 is perhaps the most successful year for the Black Stars. We qualified and participated in our maiden World Cup.
We did not only participate, but made a historic impression at the Mundial. The Black Stars qualified to the second round of the 2006 FIFA World Cup as the only team from Africa, Asia and North America.
We outplayed all our opponents, recording a higher percentage for ball possession and lost gallantly to the world best, Brazil.
The performance of the Black Stars at the 2006 FIFA World Cup has placed Ghana on a very high pedestal in world football and international diplomacy.
Since the sterling performance of the Black Stars at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the team has demonstrated that it will grow from strength to strength.
The first post-World Cup friendly match was played against Togo. We won 2-0. We then undertook an expedition to the East where we encountered the Asia football tigers of Japan and South Korea.
The two giants succumbed to the overwhelming might of the Black Stars. We then met Australia in London and settled for a 1-1 draw.
The level of opposition presented the Black Stars, coupled with the level of determination of the team to succeed, were quite admirable.
Our dear team, the Black Stars promoted national unity through its exploits at the World Cup.
The team demonstrated that football could best serve as an instrument of political and economic diplomacy.
The baton for the excellence at the world level was handed over to the women senior team, the Black Queens. The Black Queens won silver at the last Women’s African Championship in Nigeria and thus qualified for the World Cup.
In 2006, the FA launched its official mouth, the GFA News and www.ghanafa.org, the website for the FA.
The two media were set up consequent upon the decision of the FA to create communication outlets for the FA to reach out to the public.
We need to establish a good rapport with our publics and ensure that the era of dissemination of falsehood and outright lies is brought to an end.
2006 will be remembered as the year in which the FA, was faced with a plethora of court cases by supporters of four Premier division clubs- Hearts of Oak, Liberty Professionals, Ashantigold, and Tema Youth.
The supporters took their respective decisions against the FA with the tacit approval of the clubs.
Apart from Liberty Professionals, none of the three clubs complied with the statutory requirement of the FA to file a Statement of Disclaimer in court.
In the case of Emmanuel Otu Quaye, the supporter of Accra Hearts of Oak, his action was aided by Mr. Ernest Thompson, Board Secretary of the club, who acted as counsel for the supporter.
The blatant disregard for regulations that were approved by the clubs must be brought to an end.
One significant development in 2006 was the collaboration between the FA and the University of Hull, UK. Under the collaboration, the University brought down some Development coaches to organise courses for our coaches in Ghana.
Other considerations under the collaboration are exchange programmes for coaches and referees and camping for our national teams.
The University has further extended opportunity for academic courses in football management to be pursued there.
Refereeing witnessed a dramatic change in the FIFA fitness test this year. The exercise took place with some senior and prominent referees failing.
A new methodology and format was introduced this year.
In 2006, we also reduced the number of referees in the Premiership with the view to introducing competition and efficiency.
The resultant effect is that refereeing in the Premiership is a much more improved organization within the league.
In 2006, we undertook a re-structuring of the GFA Secretariat with a new organogram. We are now reviewing staffing, compensation, appraisals and other aspects of the Secretariat.
We hope to achieve a better Secretariat bearing in mind that the Secretariat is the fulcrum on which the whole FA revolves.
We now have a functional Executive Committee with an independent-minded membership. The Executive Committee has provided very useful proposals for the development of the game.
The committees of the FA, especially, the Disciplinary, Appeals, Player Status, Division One League, Professional League Board and Referees Committees have been very active and hard working.
The FA salutes all its committees for a good job done in 2006.
Congress has been very supportive of the new GFA structure. Members of Congress attend meetings through their representatives and provide useful insight into matters tabled before them for consideration.
I hope we all redouble our efforts to accelerate the pace of development of the game here.
Ghana football possess enormous potentials which could be nursed to become one of the best in the world with the necessary initiatives, caliber of personnel, resources and support.
I will like to commend the government through the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports for a good collaboration between the two outfits.
Ghana has given practical meaning to FIFA’s call for a close collaboration between football associations and the political authorities.
We need the support, counsel and prayers of all the stakeholders in the management of the game.
May God bless all.