President Akufo-Addo, in recollecting the investigative piece, Number 12, that exposed the rot at the Ghana Football Association (GFA), has said that he was distressed to hear allegations of corruption in the sector.
According to the President, he has followed Ghanaian football through the era of C.K. Gyamfi, Baba Yara, Abedi Pele and the likes till now, and has developed much passion for the sport, more reason he intervened at the time of the exposé.
“I was distressed,” when these allegations of corruption that had engulfed football were exposed, “That is what prompted me to intervene. I had no interest in wanting to control Ghana football. That’s for football people. But, I feel that the government was duty-bound to step in to take some actions to stop the rot, and hopefully, institute reforms that will enable Ghanaian football to take on a new leaf and begin a new journey.”
President Akufo-Addo said this when the newly-elected President of the GFA, Mr Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku, called on him at Jubilee House yesterday.
The President described as fortunate, the presence of Gianni Infantino, boss of the Federation of International Football (FIFA), in Ghana following the issue, as a meeting with him led to the setting up of the Normalisation Committee.
The Normalisation Committee, he said, was a transitional arrangement to arrive at a day when there would be a new constitution and new GFA executives in place to take Ghana football to its rightful place.
He said that he was happy to hear that a new young vibrant man had been elected as GFA President.
The President assured Mr Kurt of his government’s unflinching support about the way he wants to take Ghana football, adding that “hopefully, it is the same place as I want.”
Reminding him of the desire of Ghanaians to have better football, which, he said, places an onerous task on the GFA boss, President Akufo-Addo, for humour, said every Ghanaian is an expert in football, as they are able to tell which player should play or should not.
The President advised the GFA President to listen to his own self and stay true to his principles in his bid to move Ghana football to the Promised Land.
“We wish you luck. It’s not going to be easy. It’s an area where it’s very easy for them (football people) to hail you one day, and crucify you the next [day]. That’s the task you have taken upon yourself. But I know you are already a football person. You are in it already. You know about that.
“But, what you need to do is to stay true to your principles. There are two types of people in the world; there are those who walk to the sound of people’s drums, and there are those who walk to the sound of their own drums. I much prefer those who walk to the sound of their own drum. So, listen to yourself and make sure that the decisions you are going to take are decisions that are in consonance with your understanding of what is best for Ghana football,” he advised.
The GFA boss, Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku, who until winning the GFA Presidency, was the Chairman of Dreams Football Club (FC), assured President Akufo-Addo that he would work closely with the government to ensure that the sport was delivered and made consumable again.
He told President Akufo-Addo he was going to run a transparent, accountable, good internal audit system of governance at the GFA, concepts President Akufo-Addo commended.
Describing football as the sport that has brought hope, fed many, and created loads of opportunities, Kurt said it needs many attentions which cannot be provided by only football people.
Stating that “the football association and government need to have what I call a sexy relationship,” he said the sector needs the government to be able to navigate through to the stage where football would be attractive again in the country.
“It is our hope that the government, led by your good self, will continue to be with us just like you have been for football for many years. It is also our commitment to support the government to achieve your goal of ensuring that the sport becomes the envy of many,” he said.