By Lawrencia Nyamekye Adjei
In 2012, Twitter was just 6 years old, everyone could access Facebook, and the great Mohammed Ali, Pele, and Diego Maradona were still alive. Asamoah Gyan was a Black Stars player, Manchester City had just won their first Premier League, the world had little to no idea about coronavirus. ‘Kolom’ by Bukbak, ‘Woara’ by Okyeame Kwame, and ‘Obuu mo’ by EL dominated the music chart in Ghana. Eras past and time flies, this comes along with switching circumstances because life is not static.
The Ghana Women’s Premier League, just like every aspect of life, has undergone changes. The name of the tournament moved from the National Women’s League to the Ghana Women’s Premier League. The number of participating teams has also seen an increase from 12 to 20. Clubs no longer play on dusty pitches. Club administrators are authorised by club licencing to select venues fit for Premier Division matches. Most importantly, on every match day, some selected matches are broadcast, a feat the leaders of the current football administration can boldly and proudly boast of. The league has come far, and it is now somewhat at a place where the corporate world wants a bite to enjoy. There is a partnership with globally recognised companies like Malta Guinness, Betway, and Melcom. These changes have been a long time coming.
As much as the league has seen these tremendous developments, more can be done to get the women’s game to the level of South Africa. Authorising clubs to play on grassed pitches isn’t enough. The game must be played on FIFA-standard pitches. Unfortunately, some of the venues available for usage, including the Madina Astro Turf, McDan La Town Park, Presec School Park, Mankessim Astro Turf, Bantama Astro Turf, Utretch Park, and MATS Park, can be used only for ceremonial matches or training pitches and not for competitive football. It was of great importance and improvement in the women’s game for clubs to desist from playing on pitches like the Tesano Police Park, but to make sure that we have turned an actual new leaf and are still on the course on the journey to improving the Ghana Women’s League, the kind of pitches used must be given close attention.
The women’s game has seen a major increment in the price of money given to the participating teams and the eventual finalists. These funds end up with administrators. Unfortunately, the players receive little to nothing. Just imagine a sister or girlfriend going through rigorous training throughout the week and receiving “nothing” at the end of the month. The hope and dream of these girls are to get noticed by any of the service teams (Police Ladies or Army Ladies) with a promise of future enlistment or get noticed by a foreign agent and move out of Ghana. Sometimes their prayer for any form of remuneration is answered if they get selected for any of the national teams, qualify for tournaments, and put up a good performance to be able to earn a little money to pay debts and wait for another international campaign. This is not a life that is progressive for women. Club administrators must be instructed and authorised under law to at least give these women the minimum wage.
One major factor bedevilling players in the women’s game is a lack of education. It was actually a good sigh of relief to see some of the ladies graduate from universities or even complete high school. However, the lack of education makes it difficult for some of the players to add value to their craft and also know exactly what they are getting themselves into when contracts are in place. Players like Jennifer Cudjoe, Linda Eshun, and Ruth Appiah have all attained their first degrees, and how they present themselves to the media is very attractive and worth talking about. Any form of education, be it vocational or technical, can give these ladies a fallback plan when the end of their football career draws nigh. Lots of improvement and development have been recorded since the days of Ghatel Ladies, the road may not be necessarily clear, but with steady movement, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.