“We have awakened. We will not sleep anymore. Today, from now on, there is a new African in the world! That new African is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs. We are going to demonstrate to the world, to the other nations, that we are prepared to lay our own foundation,” these were the words of Ghana’s 1st President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on Independence Day in 1957.
And I think, from now on, there is a new Ghanaian and that new Ghanaian is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all, the Ghanaian is capable of managing his own affairs.
Flanked by Deputy Technical Director of the Ghana FA, Ma-sud Didi Dramani and Black Stars Deputy Coach Maxwell Konadu, I marveled at the beautiful edifice and the vision behind Republicans Academy.
Based in Apantem, near Aburi in the Eastern Region, the eight-acre facility houses three pitches (2 AstroTurfs, 1 natural), a dormitory with hostel facilities, changing rooms, a kitchen, dining hall and conference room.
As fascinated as I was, I was lured into a chat with the owner of the mind-boggling and magnificent edifice, Moro Mohammed.
An indigene of Wa, the Upper West Regional capital, Moro has a vision to re-live the football vision of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah hence the name Republicans Football Academy.
"Our primary focus is to nurture and develop the many soccer talents in the country. We want to continue and complete what Dr. Kwame Nkrumah started, hence the name Republicans,” Moro told me.
His target is not only to unearth and shape talents, and build an established future for the next generation, but to also dominate the senior national team of Ghana – The Black Stars.
"Give me just two years and you will see a massive representation of Republicans in Black Stars,” he said.
Indeed Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s football vision saw the establishment of the Republicans FC after Ghana’s independence which was indirectly the hub for the Black Stars.
Moro Mohammed reveals that he has so far spent $2m on the academy and still counting – with three more pitches set to be constructed.
He has a vision of making the academy a camping grounds for clubs to camp there for their preseason and to host the national teams’ camping ahead of tournaments and matches.
"We have structures in place, sound coaches, good pitches as you can see for yourselves, nutritionist, teachers, etc to nurture the quality talents in camp and to serve as a grounds for all teams to prepare for their game,” he noted.
With the serene environment, decorated with a green setting and sumptuous natural air, the site which is located on top of the Aburi mountains provides a quiet and noise-free environment for teams to prepare during the preseason.
“I have been overwhelmed by what I have seen here today and I think we still have more great men in Ghana. I am completely amazed by the infrastructure and the pitches. I’ll encourage clubs and other national teams to run here for their preparations,” Black Stars Deputy Coach Maxwell Konadu said in an interaction with the stakeholders of the academy.
Amazingly, Moro says he is expecting nothing in return from the academy, at least not for now. “I’m doing this expecting nothing in return. I just want to help discover and develop more talents, but if an individual and the corporate world wants to support, why not?
It has a four-member technical team headed by coach Kassim Occansey, a three-man management team, a scout, a modern secretariat and a marketing director.
On his side, Didi Dramani, Deputy Technical Director of the Ghana FA encouraged the young Moro Mohammed to continue his vision and work closely with his department and other industry players to get to greater heights.
"What I have seen here today is not just beautiful but a definition of a dream. I'll encourage you (Moro) to work closely with the stakeholders in the game to push your dream miles further. We at the FA are always ready to welcome you for any support you need from us," Didi Dramani said.
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