ELECTION OF KURT OKRAKU AS PRESIDENT OF THE GHANA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION.
The Executive Chairman of Ghana Premier League side Dreams FC, Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku, was on Friday, October 25 elected the President of the Ghana Football Association, GFA, at the Association’s extraordinary congress at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Accra. The election of the new GFA President brings to an end the 13 months tenure of the Dr. Kofi Amoah led Normalisation Committee which was mandated by FIFA and the Government of Ghana to administer football on an interim basis leading to reforms, following the damning expose on corruption and maladministration of the game in the Kwasi Nyantakyi administration.
Mr. Okraku beat off stiff competition from his closest challenger George Kwasi Afriyie after three rounds of voting. The other candidates who took part in the election were the first-ever female aspirant Amanda Clinton, George Ankoma Mensah, a former Vice President of the GFA, Director of Accra Great Olympics Fred Pappoe, and 36-year-old Executive Chairman of Division One side Phar Rangers Nana Yaw Amponsah.
Okraku becomes the 24th President of the GFA which gained worldwide attention after investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas unearthed several corrupt practices in the football structure. Per the new statutes of the GFA, Okraku is mandated to serve only a two 4-year term.
Congress also voted to increase participating teams in the Premier League for the 2019/2020 season from 16 to 18. By this decision, 5 teams would be relegated at the end of the season and 3 teams would be promoted from Division One to revert it to its original number. The beneficiaries of this decision are Great Olympics and Kumasi based King Faisal who have longstanding cases against the GFA in court.
Even though football lovers would want to have their domestic football bounce back as soon as possible, with the election of a new President, it is important the new administration is circumspect on how to manage the expectations. Hopefully, poor remuneration for match officials and players would be a thing of the past, and corporate Ghana would be willing to invest in domestic football again with confidence and enthusiasm. In the electoral process, one disturbing issue was the obvious display of opulence and flamboyance by some of the candidates.
Even more disturbing was the alleged monetary inducement to influence the voting pattern by delegates. The security agencies should be interested in investigating to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of these allegations. It is a shame that in spite of almost all the candidates trumpeting a new appealing corporate image for the Ghana FA, owing to what happened in the past, some still went ahead to preach virtue and practice vice. What perhaps gladness the heart is the strong personalities within the Executive Council who are desirous of making changes that would inure to the benefit of all. The blend of both old and new faces could be the trump card of making a positive and well-intended impact on the game.
Undoubtedly, the new FA President would have a herculean task of rebuilding the trust, restoring the reputation, confidence and integrity of Ghana football. The scent of football corruption stinks so badly that Ghanaians, usually so bullish about their senior national male team, the Black Stars have stopped attending matches. The perceived disconnection between officials in power and the fans has left local club football at its lowest ebb, this, the new President must be ready to address.
We wish the new GFA President and his team the best in their efforts to revive the passion of the nation, football.
BY EMMANUEL ADU-GYAMFI, A SPORTS JOURNALIST.