A Former skipper of Kumasi Asante Kotoko and the Black Stars, Opoku Afriyie, has appealed to big time corporate bodies and financial institutions to sponsor the Ghana Premier League (GPL) to make it more attractive.
He also urged companies to get involved in running football clubs as a way of making it more competitive and exciting to draw fans to the various stadiums.
Speaking to the Graphic Sports in an interview in Kumasi, Opoku Afriyie, considered one of the best strikers this country has ever produced, said with attractive sponsorship packages, club owners would be in a position to pay better salaries and bonuses to local players to entice them to play in the GPL for longer periods.
“Because our league has no sponsors, club owners have resorted to offloading their best players to raise funds to survive. Now, their interest is not to make the league attractive to football fans as it used to be during our days,’’ he noted.
‘’It is for this reason that some of the companies in Ghana need to collaborate with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and club owners to sponsor the league in particular and the local clubs in general to entice our young footballers to stay and mature in Ghana before joining foreign clubs”, Afriyie, who scored both goals against Uganda in the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations final to ensure Ghana’s second continental trophy, said.
“I will not do anything to belittle the league or disparage it, but the fact remains that it has lost its attraction; and until big time companies come on board with attractive sponsorship packages, or take over the running of some clubs, it will take much time for the league to be as attractive as is happening in some sister Africa countries and elsewhere in Europe.”
The retired striker, who was affectionately called Bayie in his heyday, said if the league continued without sponsors, young footballers would always use it as a springboard for greener pasture abroad, compelling football fans in Ghana to sit by their television sets to watch foreign matches as alternatives.