The 2019 Elective Congress of the Ghana Football Association last week was held to find answers, specifically, to seek leaders who would solve the challenges of the domestic game in all the ways the previous regime failed.
The process itself was successful, and while the full impact of the new administration is yet to be felt, one concern stood out in the FA’s eleven-person line-up of freshly elected administrators. Yes, each of those now occupying places on the GFA Executive Council belongs to the so-called ‘football people’ clan, but none has ever kicked a ball professionally in their lives.
Let that sink in.
Not that it’s too serious a problem, of course. Some of the most accomplished football administrators and managers in history never knew what it is like to be a player, after all, but there is still nothing quite as romantic as a footballer running football the way it should be — and with success, too. Even in some of the world’s more powerful football cultures, this is very much the case, with retired footballers using their brains as effectively as they once used their feet.
Pleasant as that is, it’s a luxury Ghana doesn’t have, and the absence of any former players among the aforementioned GFA officials is but a case in point; look around at our various clubs — where not many of that kind are involved in day-to-day administration — and that point is highlighted even further. Think about it: an ex-footballer as GFA boss — a rare breed, indeed — hasn’t been seen since Ben Koufie, a man who left office in 2003 and is now deceased.
Why the lack, then?
Well, I could hazard a guess. Football administration, as implied earlier, is mainly cerebral work — if you can look past the politics, that is — and only a handful of players from these parts have a good academic background. Thus, naturally, they might not be inclined to take to life in the sport’s offices; tasks like coaching (more talk and less work, you know, from the Ghanaian perspective), punditry (even more talk), and other ‘easier’ facets of football business are what these often gravitate towards after hanging up their boots.
Some have dared to take that path and proven fairly successful, with others also showing considerable potential. Former Black Star Anthony Baffoe is, by far, the most sterling example, but he — a high-ranking official of the Confederation of African Football — is already arguably bigger than any role that could be offered him within the borders of this country.
The Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG) — of which Baffoe is founder and General-Secretary — could help steer more toward that field in their post-playing days, but until such a course becomes a thing, the prospect of a footballer making huge strides into the national game’s corridors of power appears improbable.
There aren’t many at the base of the pyramid right now, and even fewer seem interested in — or capable of — climbing higher. We wait.
NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH