By Michael Okuley, a Journalist
It is natural to see birds flying with ease in the air while fishes feel extremely comfortable in the water. This simply suggests that people with specific expertise should be put in those domains to flourish. Recently, this has been the position of some retired footballers on the African Continent regarding the administration of football. Many are of the view that sports administration must be handled by those who have participated in the sports, and football should exclusively be led by persons who have a proven record of experience garnered in one’s trade. There has been a wave blowing across Africa with former footballers taking up the mantle of heading their various national football federations. Legend Kalusha Bwala of Zambia who played for the Chipolopolo for 23yrs became the President of the Football Association of Zambia in 2008 until he was ousted in 2016 following his defeat in an election to Andrew Kamanga. In December 2021, champions league winner and former captain of the Cameroonian national football team, Samuel Eto’o was elected to become the new boss of the Cameroon Football Association.
Yes! Another former player has taken over the running of the game he played which seems to underscore the cliché that, experts should be allowed to perform in their favorite domain. Just a few days ago, former captain of the Ivorian national team Didier Drogba contested for the same seat but woefully lost the election. With the above circumstances, some Ghanaians are also clamoring for former Black Stars players to take over the running of Ghana football. These calls suggest that the ex-players have kept a distance too far away from the topmost position of the Ghana Football Association. This position seems to reaffirm preference for soccer maestro and Ghana’s football legend, Abedi Ayew Pele to have fought for the CAF position in 2010, which sparked a lot of controversies in the media and football circles. The presidency’s order for Mr Nyantakyi to step down as Western Zone B on the Confederation of African Football – CAF – Executive Committee for former captain Abedi Ayew to contest the CAF Executive Committee election revealed the appetite of his contemporary to take over the administration of the game in fulfillment of the popular cliché of ‘football must be run by footballers’.
Names are popping up of candidates to lead the administration of football in Ghana. The difference between most former players in Ghana and their contemporaries in other countries is the desire to learn and make themselves ready for such top and sensitive positions. The occupation of that position requires special expertise to become the head of the country’s football governing body.
According to the 2019 GFA status, one must have a first degree from a reputable University or 7 years of working experience in Sports Administration or General Business Management to be eligible to become the chairman of the Board of Directors of the GFA. To become the Chief Executive of the association, it is a must to have five years of working experience in sports administration or General Business Management with a Master’s degree in a related discipline or a first degree with 5 years of working experience in Administration or Management.
If any footballer is hatching the ambition of annexing the reigns of the Ghana Football Association, the above qualifications are required to become a competent leader when voted to power.
Football has wider implications than the 90 minutes of activities on the field. Some players turn towards coaching to stay in the sport, while some plunge into punditry. Beginning a professional career at a very young age, most footballers give up academic pursuit after school. There are a lot of footballers who have planned their lives after football by acquiring the needed certificate to become relevant in any industry they want to be in.
Despite his popularity and exploits on the field, Didier Drogba who recently lost the Ivorian football federation elections holds a Degree in Accounting from the University of Maine,in the US. This is the testimony of a footballer who is prepared to add his experience on the field when he succeeds in taking over the administration of football in his country. It could be safely argued, playing the game or participating in the sports on the pitch is not enough for one to become heir to the throne of the national association. This should prepare the minds of every footballer both current and past with the ambition of becoming the Ghana FA president to not only limit themselves to the 90mins action on the field of play.They must add value to themselves to be relevant in this age of rapid transformation in all fields of endeavour.
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