The book of Proverbs chapter 6 verse 22 is the quote that inspired Ghana Football Association’s decision to formulate and implement a policy geared towards the discovery and harnessing of refereeing talent.It is the quote on which the GFA hopes to strengthen one of the most maligned arms of Ghanaian football.
It says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” and it is on this solid rock that the GFA hopes to raise an army of young energetic and passionate referees.
‘Catch them young’ they call it, which implies that right from the ages of thirteen, the values of fair and firm refereeing is going to be inculcated in some Ghanaians whose interest lie in arbitrating matters on the field of play.
It is a grand agenda to revive interest in refereeing which is arguably the most popular and biggest pro-refereeing policy in the history of Ghana football.
The association has in the past supported some potential referees to undertake courses but never has there been a grand scheme to catch referees while they are young.
The objective is that in the not so distant future, Ghana’s record of referees at the World Cup which stands as two will witness an increment.
President of GFA Kurt Okraku is confident about this and so is Alex Kotey, the Referees Manager of the GFA who with a team of retired and active FIFA referees will be leading this programme.
For Kurt Okraku, the prospect of a Ghanaian obtaining a FIFA badge by age twenty-three appeals to him and he is not going to renege until that is achieved.
“Train the referees the way should grow and when they grow they will not from the good virtues that they have learnt. It marks a very important step in our agenda to improve refereeing in this country. If you want to build top talents, you need to discover the talent very early and add value to the talent”, Okraku said at the launch of the programme held at the GFA premise in Accra.
Alex Kotey enumerated the benefits Ghana football could derive from the initiative.
“The aim is to unlock the potential and build the future. We want to unlock that potential that hitherto was missing,” he said.