Ghana has lived under a long standing hoax as been a footballing nation in word but not in deed. Intermittent football successes has clouded the judgement of those who should know better.
Ghana has failed to meet all the tenets of a footballing nation.
Infrastructure and investment
Ghana can not boast of a single ultra modern world class sports facility. The national stadium is nothing but a monumental center for football matches which barely fits purpose and the Ghanaian standard.10 minutes of rains in February flooded the national stadium and made it unplayable to the extent that games had to be postponed. It is a monumental shame and the stadium is not fit for purpose.Premier league football centers are nothing but a shame to behold.
There country after 60 years still lacks a reputable sports health center as well as a sports training school.
The only real investment in Ghana sports has been the face-lift for the hosting of the 2008 African cup of nations some 13 years ago.
The premier league has been a laughing stock which has lacked any serious sponsorship for years now. Due to lack of infrastructure both the government and private entities have all failed to as well invest in the game in Ghana making progress difficult. Most premier league clubs lack basic infrastructure such as training pitches not to talk about lower division clubs.Footballing nations invest in football infrastructure with a clear and distinct direction.Most African countries not touted as footballing countries today boast of world class football facilities which is gradually turning their fortunes around. There are many more African countries with enough facilities and infrastructure to host major tournaments but that is a mirage in Ghana today.
Youth leagues (colts soccer)have not been played for a while now without any justification or explanation. There are enough talents but structures have made harnessing them a mirage.Ghana like many African countries notably have dominated world youth football without any progress to senior teams for international recognition. A chunk of Ghanaian players do not make the cut in top clubs because their development in inconsistent with the accepted standards.Ghana till today still once in a while chalks success in these youth tournaments but due to bad tenets these successes do not affect youth development. Ghana may have produced some great footballing names but the benchmark for attaining footballing nation based on big names players is far fetched.
Finance and Economy
Footballing nations see football as business and a good boost to the economy. However after 60 years of Ghana’s existence nothing has proven to show it intends to draw these economic boost offered by football. The economic structure of Ghana football has been nothing but a failure.Most players are offered peanuts playing locally and therefore any foreign deal offered is jumped on without any real successes.
Footballers are poor in Ghana when it should not be. In as much as the government has failed in its duty to ensure absolute dominance and the lead in making football a big economic and financial hub the other stakeholders alike have also failed in the same regard.The game is at its lowest ebb financially and economically as has been the reason for the massive player exodus from Ghana.Fellow African clubs from “non footballing nation “are established and able to sign the best players from Ghana. An activity which is affecting quality of play.To name a few nations Morocco has a 101 million usd budget for sports and that is how football nations or sporting nations apply finances. The Gambia as well as Mauritius are budgeting 10 million usd plus for football activities for the year and Ghana a footballing nation has 6 million usd for both youth and sports.
Football politics and national partisan politics has been a bane to football progress in Ghana. All partisan football decisions have been just more campaign promises devoid of any coherent or pragmatic drive towards achieving any gains.The sports ministry has only been visible when intermittent success are chalked but has not brought forth any plan of action for success.There is no clear structure politically on the handling of football.football developmental projects have been more of political expediency than a well thought through project. Ministerial appointments as well as personnel involved in football have barely shown any clear leads in leaving any legacy. Football politics has also hampered Ghana’s pursuit of football success.Cartels as well as u just alliances with sole aim of personal achievements has overshadowed the collective national focus.
A cohesive and well thought through agenda should be the focus spearheaded by the government. Sports investment as well as personnel management should be a focus.fluke successes once in a while should not cloud judgement into the assumption that all is well with Ghana football. Sports infrastructure should be provided as soon as possible.
Ghana may have lost grounds on its accolade as a footballing nation but all is not lost.A desirable change can restore Ghana on that path.
The question remains when will Ghana return to the desirable path.Your guess is as good as mine.Leadership should get to work and all stakeholders should also come on board.
God bless Ghana.
Writer – Abel Ofori