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GFA President condemns attack on 14-year-old “Catch Them Young” referee

Kurt Okraku.

By Tilda Acorlor

The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr. Kurt Okraku, has strongly condemned the attack on a 14-year-old ‘Catch Them Young Referee in the Upper East Region.

According to reports, the owner of a juvenile club based in Boltagatanga, Boison FC, Mr. Mohammed Yahaya, assaulted 14-year-old Elijah Ada while officiating.

Mr. Mohammed Yahaya was not happy that the referee took a direct free-kick against his team after a goalkeeper handled a ball from a throw-in by his teammates.

The incident happened at the Bolgatanga Municipal District Football Association’s (BDFA) ongoing Juvenile District qualifiers, a game between Bolga All Stars Babies and Boison FC.

At a meeting in the office of the Ho Municipal Chief Executive during his two-day visit to the Volta Region, Mr. Kurt Okraku was disappointed at the unpleasant news, describing it as an act of “madness”.

He condemned the action of the owner of Boison FC and called on all football stakeholders to be patient in developing these young referees.

“Today, I read somewhere that a ‘Catch Them Young Referee’ was attacked in the Upper East Region. For me, this is madness to say in plain language. If you attack a ‘Catch Them Young Referee,’ it means you don’t have a heart.”

“Because these are kids, and we must understand this. They are now coming into the sport; they will now learn the trade, and they will now learn the laws of the game.”

“Gradually over time, they will learn their trade. It’s the responsibility of the FA to invest in these kids and the referees who have taken over the sport since 2019,” he added.

Reports say the matter has since been reported to the Regional Police Headquarters in Bolga, and the police have begun their investigations.

The “Catch Them Young” Policy is designed to identify, educate, and train young talents between the ages of 13 and 16 to officiate juvenile matches within their regions.

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