Sports Features Tue, 12 Feb 2013

GFA: Is time for reform?

With the curtains of the AFCON 2013 gracefully drawn, proverbial sentiments and concerns have been keenly expressed on numerous platforms by football fans on the ciontinent and in the diaspora.

Similar to every AFCON's conclusion, these legitimate sentiments and concerns are raised. Of which some include tournament pitches, officiating of matches, performance of minnows, tactics of coaches, tournament's surprises and participation of supporrters from various nations. Standing tall among these infinite concerns are the abrupt termination of coaches' contracts, and subsequent exclusion of so called 'unfit-for-purpose' players or players who could not deliver when it mattered most.

However, supporters increasingly forget about the body that structures and directs their relevant national teams. As a Ghanaian I can boldly opine that this is the standard norm that exists, where the GFA oversees the exclusion of some plyers from the national team and sacking of the coach as a means of quelling the immediate emotions of football fans, while largely remaining unreformed both ineternally and especially externally, all in the name of FIFA's rule on government interferance.

Listening to the vetting of honorable Elvis Afriyie, the minister designate for Youth and Sports, I garnered a relative sense of assurance in terms of his ministry working in tandem with all sporting institutions. However, I was equally unhappy about his non-interfering stance on the GFA. In fact there has been a long overdue clamour from a large section of the footballing populace for the GFA to be reformed from the outside. Afterall, a proprtion of taxpayers money from the national budget goes into the ministry of youth and sports, which trickles down to the GFA to help it run its activities.

Hence, in answering the question posed above, yes it is high time the GFA is reformed. And I strongly believe the onus is on the ministry of youth and sports to effect these reforms, this notwithstanding FIFA's regulations. As the proverbial saying goes “a thing worth doing is worth doing well”, so should the national team be banned from participating at the international level, as a result of the ministry intervening for the good of the GFA and establishing a high level performing and winning team, I believe it would have been a worthwhile venture.

A critical look at the structure, objectives and operating policies of the GFA is a significant initial step in moving forward. There is a need for clarity in the structure at the GFA i.e. the role of the president, his governing committees and their responsibilities. With emphasis on a well defined terms of office for each of these executives including the president. Furthermore, a revamp of the aims and objectives of the GFA in terms of strengthening grass root football up to the national level (both male and female sides) will not be a great incentive to the nation. An overhaul of the operating policies guiding the GFA will also be gladly welcome. In fact it is high time the football community gets to know about the ongoings at the GFA, especially things that are due the general public. It is very pathetic that one of the sources (website) of information emanating from the GFA is so “rudimentary and basic” that in some quarters, it is comparable to a project of a high school student in his final year; no links to the GFA's constitution, executives and their mandate, objectives, policies etc.

So as a concern citizen of the beloved republic, I sympathise with all football loving fans in the lucklustre performance of the national team in AFCON 2013. However, we should not be oblivious of the 'white elephant' in the room; GFA. In fact it is not surprising that the public outcry is directed at the coach and players, but there is a critical need for all (Ghanaians) to call for a complete overhaul of the GFA, objectives, operating policies and its relevant undertakings for the national team to re-gain its status on both the continental and international arenas of football, lest we return to the dark ages where the national team was an absolute ridicule on the lips of many Ghanaians.

Source: Frank Amponsah