Kurt Okraku gets the peace of mind to rule; Ghana football gets the chance to grow after CAS ruling

Kurt Okraku.jpeg GFA President, Kurt Okraku

Fri, 4 Sep 2020 Source: Patrick Akoto, Contributor

Call it Poetic Justice if you want to but the virtues of staying patient and not making hasty decisions have rewarded Ghana Football Association (GFA) President Kurt Okraku.

September 3, 2019, was the day Kurt Okraku officially announced his intent to contest for the GFA Presidential Seat and it so happens a year (and a day) after making the Game Changing decision, his right to preside over Ghana football has been further legitimized.

In a year that has looked drastically different than ever, nothing is “normal” and missing the full year mark by a day is as close as you get to a destined fate.

Perhaps Kurt Okraku was destined to be President of Ghana Football after scaling up the ladder of a powerful body that continues to serve as another “Estate” in the Ghanaian society.

While many countries see the Fifth Estate as the social media world, it is fair to say football and the GFA specifically in Ghana is the Fifth Estate; after all, anything Ghanaian in the social media space is largely connected to happenings in the GFA.  In a landmark case heard in the quarters of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the GFA came out triumphant and after several reminders of the pending decision since the new Head was elected, there are no doubts now.

Barring another health crisis or second wave of corona virus infections in the country, it is very likely football would have a fair run in the remaining years under the present administration.

After a three year run where the biggest sports competition in the country-the Ghana Premier League-hasn’t declared a winner due to varied reasons, the loss of a potential dark cloud that could rain down on President Okraku’s parade is utterly important to the health of the industry.

Since taking over in late 2019, a host of initiatives targeting the well being of the next generation have been rolled over to solve the ills of Ghana football. Plans to get athletes on Government Scholarship Schemes and the revival of Colts Football that directly informed setting up a Juvenile Committee readily come to mind. However, the headlining initiative introduced has to be the “Catch Them Young Refereeing “Policy.

This policy aims at developing young individuals in refereeing games beginning at the juvenile level with an eye to see them grow into world class officials.

Many a project over the years has focused on developing talent of athletes with little to no attention paid to equipping the key individuals in black at the heart of competition across all levels of the sport.

The focus is on the future but folks in the present have not been left out in the cold as the GFA’s “Bring Back The Love” Campaign highlights efforts to raise the profile of the Ghanaian leagues.

Without the CAS win, all momentum behind these projects was likely to flame out or completely abandoned had the Presidential race been won by another individual in fresh elections had CAS ruled against the Association.

CAS’ ruling is a big win for the GFA to legitimize its rule, its impact on happenings in the corridors of Ghana’s corporate world and the rest of the business world can’t be under estimated.

Since assuming power, the GFA President has consistently been pictured interacting with high ranking members of lead businesses in the country via official visits.

With the urgent need for an injection of funds from such companies, the implications of the ruling takes major hurdles to potential partnerships with the Association moving forward.

It is plausible major businesses were skeptical about signing off on deals with the body because of the hitherto lingering court case.

COVID 19 infection rate continues to drop and coupled with CAS’ ruling, competitive football could soon return “in a couple of weeks” as stated by Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo in his latest Address to the Nation.

As such, an announcement of a deal with financial benefits to league clubs and players is imminent given the extensive leg work carried out by the GFA President since assuming office.

President Okraku has the green light to head Ghana’s sizable football stakeholders till 2023 and with plans already in place to make his promises and policies a reality, the sport is in for a boon period after multiple years of floundering results.

Ghana’s football industry has had its fair share of dark periods and Osei Palmer’s appeal over his disqualification from the 2019 GFA Presidential elections was the latest.

But the darkest hour is now over and the dawn of a patronized, financed and professional football industry under a united and stronger Kurt Okraku led GFA beckons.

Source: Patrick Akoto, Contributor
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