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CORONA VIRUS BLUES – WHAT NEXT FOR GHANA FOOTBALL

The successful election of Mr. Kurt Okraku as GFA President marked the start of a path to reposition and rebrand our game after a year-long spell without domestic football resulting from Anas ‘number 12 expose that shook this soccer-loving nation to the core.

#BringBacktheLove” as championed by the GFA president was a way to revive the lost love for Football in the country. Ghana places a high premium on football than any other sporting activities. After all, it is the sport that has consistently placed us higher up on the map – from Nations Cup glory, Juvenile football triumphs and stellar performances at the global football showpiece known as the World Cup. By enshrining King Faisal and Olympics in the 20 team fold, the league introduced a new structure, and a lot of effort went into the administration level as well -Seasoned journalists, such as Michael Oti-Adjei and Nana Aba Anamoah were designated positions on the referee’s committee and Women’s league board respectively.

Everything seemed to be going well with stellar club branding efforts through their diverse social media handles which has resonated with their teaming supporters. The various media houses have played their parts in ensuring coverage has been at an all-time high with lovely contents and great coverage.

This season’s Ghana Premier League so far;

Aduana Stars lead the league log with 28points, 15 games into the league and two points adrift two time champions Berekum Chelsea while Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Elmina Sharks and Ashanti Gold SC lie in 3RD 4TH and 5th place respectively. There’s fierce competition from top of the table to 12th place, with very small margins. King Faisal and Great Olympics have both failed to pick up points since being reinstated by Congress On the 25th of October,2019 . Alhaji Grunsah’s King Faisal are the worst of the pair picking up just 6 points from 6 draws and they’re the only team in the Ghana Premier League yet to win a single game. Legon Cities FC has made the league attractive with their well-crafted branding. On the pitch, however, they failed to duplicate their creative success. Three wins and five draws in 15 games shows exactly why they are relegation candidates. Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs lead the relegation battle with 15 points whilst Karela United and King Faisal fall below with 11 and 6 points respectively. The Ghana Premier League has been nothing short of talents. Victorien Adebayor’s pace combined with strength and trickery has been a nightmare for defenders. After an initial Loan spell at Vejle BK Denmark, the Inter Allies captain has scored 12 goals and is being touted as the best player in the league. An assertion Aduana,s 10 goal attacker, Yahaya Mohammed will certainly disagree with.

Moko Abubakar of Hearts Challenged by Yaya Muhamed of Kotoko ©Christian Thompson/BackpagePix

COVID -19 emergence

The novel Corona Virus pandemic has affected every industry in the world, Football and sports, in general, has been severely hit too. In fact, no country currently plays football with the exception of Belarus. Ghana’s Premier League came to an abrupt halt after the President of the republic placed a restriction on all public gatherings thus temporarily curtailing efforts channelled into the #BringBackthelove campaign – an appeal aimed at igniting enthusiasm among football fans and correcting previous years ‘footballing mistakes.

Clubs are now faced with a glaring dilemma on the way forward to keep players active. With “social distancing” being preached on a daily, there is general concern that players would dip in form. With the football and #BringBackthelove on autopilot, till the COVID-19 pandemic is over, one wonders if the zeal and momentum new ascribed in the early stages of the campaign which ignited passion and safety of the fans would be maintained.

The Secretary of the Ghana Football Association, Prosper Harrison Addo earlier this week stated that teams would be given time to train for a while before the league resumes should the current COVID-19 situation be over.  In the interim, however, what measures is the GFA putting in place to ensure Football Clubs are well equipped to deal with player health safety, payment of player wages and some sort of insurance cover that would be adequate to support them during these unprecedented times.  It is quite unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic is slowly threatening to water down the superb work implemented by the GFA so far.  Adversity, however, brings true leadership, and it is in this respect that all stakeholders need to work together to find solutions to help Ghana move forward in football

Until then, the question on the lips of every football still remains ……… What Next for Ghana Football?

By: Yaw Ampofo Jr.

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