How can Ghana revive its football brand?
With Ghana finding itself in the depths of an unprecedented football crisis, the big question is, how can it rebuild its football brand and what are some of the simple solutions that will help the brand come out stronger than ever.
To find answers, B&FT Sports talks to three of Ghana’s top sports journalists on how the country can revive its football and what the future holds following Anas’ documentary and its fallouts.
Put the Ball in the Hands of Trusted Leaders:
One of the issues people had about the old FA was transparency. So, the whole argument should now be about integrity, transparency and honesty and people who have the mind-set of developing the game to its fullest potential than what we have now.
You would admit that there is money in football, but the local league is suffering – the whole organisation is not working. So, who are those we think can help change the game? That is the question we should be asking ourselves.
People with interest in becoming FA president should be made to understand that they are coming in to implement policies that they are bringing and should be shown the exit, if they mess up or go contrary. This can be achieved by having a fixed term of office for the president.
A non-sycophantic media could do the trick
We were unlucky to have media personnel who could put them (GFA) in check. The media was sycophantic, people were thinking about their stomach and these guys also took advantage of the system and decided to mess us up and that is why we are here now.
I have confidence in what the government is doing. We are going to host the Women’s AFCON come November this year. Government has already pumped in money into that competition, so I am not too sure that government would want to do anything that will allow CAF or FIFA to ban us. So I don’t see us being banned because there is already ongoing communication between government and FIFA regarding what is going on. Kwesi Nyantakyi has resigned from all his roles in football, so I am not too that there will an issue there.
Benjamin Willie Graham, a broadcast sports journalist with Ghana Television.
Regardless of whoever takes charge, or the measures that the government puts in place on the interim, the priority must be to focus on winning back confidence into the local game because public trust has been lost. And the best way to bring it back is to make sure that you have people that the public have trust in. People with an unblemished track record.
Just like the FIFA case in 2015 when Sepp Blatter left, FIFA needed to have public trust and it also needed to build that trust in their sponsors and partners, so the best thing they did was to ensure that they bring in people who naturally don’t have skeletons in their cupboards and that is exactly what needs to happen in our case.”
I think going forward, there should be proper separation of powers that allows us to thrive and to allow for more external checks and balance.
We need to create room for more independence in terms of the executives who run the association and ensure that there is full representation at the top from all levels.
People may not have faith in the Ghana league, they will not have faith in the product and this is a product that was already suffering, so this is like double blow. So, I think the league will suffer as a result of what happened but the rebuilding process is what will convince people and it also depends on how we decide to sort this out that tell whether faith can be restored. So, it all depends on the path that we all decide to embark on.
Michael Oti-Adjei, a sports journalist with TV3 and BBC.
To me, what happened cannot be a blessing, it was painful but necessary. It is important that we were told the truth and now that we know the truth it will allow us to refocus and rebuild our football and change the old system.
Before, we were faced between two evils; the evil of continuing to run the same system or having to deal with the fallout from this fiasco and the carry on.
We could still run an executive office but we should make powers are as questionable as possible. The Executive Committee, which is like the board of directors, should be something that we should structure properly.
We should also have a system where sponsorship arrangements are subject to the approval of an external audit body. The GFA may be an autonomous body as they say, but it runs with the name of Ghana in a lot of ways, so we should have a system that allows for a certain level of control and influence, that allows for some things to be subject to proper scrutiny.
To conclude, my ideal football governing body would be one where the basic structure and systems in football are represented. One that would have a good influence on clubs, on colts’ football and where everybody understands it. This way, it will thrive and not one where a few will dominate and determine everything that goes on.
We have got to a very unfortunate point in our football history; unfortunate in the sense that there is international embarrassment. It is not good for our brand because football is a great platform where Ghana sells itself to the rest of the world.
Away from that, there are others who felt that things needed to be done differently, people with divergent opinion from the status quo.
What happened is a blessing because some of us who are in the industry are not too surprised, this is something that has always been alleged, however if you go to the court of law and you want to pursue a case you need evidence and that has always been lacking.
We have to come out a stronger and a better nation by putting in place proper measures so that we reorganise for the future.
Nathaniel Attoh, a sports journalist with Multimedia Group.
I don’t know what is going to happen but then, there is a tournament to host and qualifiers to play and if eventually we lose all that I personally wouldn’t mind so much because we are on the road of rebuilding and what is important now is to get the structure right.
I think a limited tenure would be good for the next FA President, just like the Presidency of Ghana.
Is important going forward is that congress is seen playing it role properly. Congress.