Two years on: A look at Kurt Okraku’s call to action

Kurt Okraku, GFA president
Kurt Okraku, GFA president

“Ignite passion and create wealth” sounds so practical and achievable on account of his exploits with Dreams FC as the executive chairman and chairman of the MTN FA Cup committee in recent times.

How on earth should this not resonate well with football enthusiasts when our football had been on its knees following the infamous Number 12 exposé by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

Kurt E S Okraku without a shred of doubt is a smart brain and I say this arrogantly given how he managed to beat off competition from clear favourites on paper, George Akwasi Afriyie who was once Kwesi Nyantakyi’s deputy and the ever ambitious Nana Yaw Amponsah, now Kotoko’s CEO to ascend the throne of Ghana Football Association.

Say whatever you want to say about him needing help from the former capo but even so , it takes wits and intelligence to turn Kwesi’s head in your favour.

The enormity of task that confronted “The Believe Man” obviously would mean that he hits the ground running.

Rising from the ruins of Number 12 requiring the resuscitation of the FA’s image that had been badly bruised.

Then figuring out practicable measures in dealing with the adverse effects of COVID-19 that halted all football related activities in Ghana and the world at large.

There was also the apathy headache the Black Stars and it’s management carried without relief over the recent years. That meant a move to scale over the Brazil 2014 debacle while re – orienting the ordinary Ghanaian soccer fan on the street on the need to cherish our own – The Ghana Premier League.

Ratings after 24 months in office have been mixed with critics putting the former sports journalist under so much scrutiny for his inability to change the air of despondency around our local game. CK Akonnor‘s uninspiring time as Black Stars coach also cast a slur on his administration.

An instructive success note under Kurt’s administration is the triumph of Ghana’s U20 team in Mauritania AFCON youth tournament and how he got Ghanaians to take seriously and adopt his promise to bring back the love. If you need any glaring proof of this- cue The Ga Mantse and Super 2 derbies and the blast of interest on social media and stadium attendance.

Given the prevailing circumstances though , one cannot be far from right in assuming the shadows of Kwesi Nyantakyi still weighs on Kurt – (at least ) on the basis of how The Black Stars looked attractive and marketable during the formative stages of the former’s tenure which as a matter of fact still lives on as one of his cardinal legacies.

“A call to action and a charge to keep” concludes a well crafted manifesto that proffered treatment to almost all the maladies bedeviling our game. Game Changer as widely identified in the lead up to his election was full of words that inspired hope and optimism.

Club support fund

Hope that was to alleviate the long standing suffering of Ghanaians players plying their trades in the Ghana Premier League with the establishment of the Club Support Fund essentially to support clubs in the payment of attractive wages ostensibly to minimise the spate of player exodus while enhancing the value of our league.

I remember being left in awe with just how then candidate Kurt expounded his ideas on how he intends to rejuvenate juvenile / colts football with the set up of the Central Fund that would also cater for Women’s football.

And to also think that players who suffer serious injuries as bone , cartilage and ligaments through THE MEDICAL FUND shall receive proper treatment with the facilitation of the FA made it the all remarkable President Kurt I hope would be.

It’s now 730 days to the day he shifted levels from would be to the BE and The Ghanaman soccer centre of excellence remains as beautiful as St George and Clairfontaine of England and France respectively.

Our National Teams have found a haven in Prampram with state of the art facilities to prepare for games whiles revenue is also generated through the patronage of private individuals who access the swimming pool , the gym , dormitories et al . More commendable has to be works gone into construction of 14 artificial and grass pitches at Prampram.

Pardon my sarcasm but this level of unwavering spirit to fix our football in 4 years can only be fictional or merely playing to the gallery just like any other politician and i say this with no hesitation.

An increase in the prize money for winners of our elite league , boreholes across the league centres in an effort to maintain our pitches , procurement of office and Internet connectivity equipments for all Regional FA’s , Sponsorship for Women’s football albeit paltry and the recently secured One million dollar deal for 5 years from KGL that would see colts clubs all around the country receive 100 jerseys and 100 bibs are just a few of the pointers to illustrate Kurt’s willingness to make an impact.

Two years into office, it is only imperative to put our president to the sword vis a vis his lofty campaign promises.

A roller coaster two years it’s been and the football fraternity extend their felicitations and goodwill on your anniversary but I am quite curious to know – if elections were held today , will Mr Okraku be confident enough to want to count on his deeds for retention ? How well have you navigated around the administrative lapses , infrastructural deficits and most importantly grassroot football that which you highlighted as draw backs.

Our football authorities have thrived even in the most polarised situations with self aggrandisement and you’re no exception and so I expect some of your team members if not your good self to rebuff my candid assessment of your opening two years which have been nothing short of you being just voluble and a candidate for a textbook President – More Talk , Less Action

The next two years obviously should be very crucial and defining and I expect you to embark on an exercise of redemption. Qualifying to the World Cup slated for Qatar next year can be an insurance policy and you know what this means to your bid in seeking re – election.

Winning the Afcon also presents you with a wild card to afford you time to lay down the fundamentals ( blocks ) that should set you up in putting across your lullaby of ideas .

Dutifully, you owe it to yourself to make your next two years count regardless of all the load of baloney that would be thrown at you .

Ghanaians do not expect their football to suddenly get to the heights of Egyptian or South African football who have somewhat become the standard in the last few years but the little things as a vibrant league at the elite level, a holloganism – free Division One league , a well coordinated juvenile / grassroot football program well in sync with the ideals of the Technical directorate of the FA and I’m not sure this is too much to ask for.

This is how you ignite passion and create wealth because a competitive league should fill our various league centres to the rafters while attracting potential sponsors , the division one league in recent times has proven to be the hub for supplying players to the Premier league clubs and this conveyor belt only preserves the quality of our top-flight with a well run juvenile league not just being the bedrock of competitive National Teams but sustaining our sport .

What kind of memories should your first term leave us with?

Nana Sam Brew Butler, Alhaji MND Jawula, the late Ben Kouffie, Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe are past presidents you saw maning the affairs of football when you were a budding journalist and know all about how Ghanaians remember each one of them.

In what light do you also want to be remembered?

You’ve got some little time under your belt Mr Believe. Make us Believe Mr President.

Kofi Mensah, journalist

Source: Daily Mail GH

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