Nobody can say anything good about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is indeed deadly and unwelcome. However, for the period that it lasts, it will teach us all many lessons. There are lessons of survival, self-reliance and strategic innovations.
Our football has learnt a lot of painful lessons brought by the Anas Episode 12. The most glaring is the fact that no matter how many elections the head of football administration can win, he should not entrench himself in office and overstay his welcome, even if he appears to be getting favourable results and achievements. The current manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, is a living example. He quits his managerial duties when the applause is loudest, having won multiple trophies.
Following the Anas Episode is the current Coronavirus. Among many other lessons, the virus has taught us as nations, corporate bodies and individuals how weak and empty our economies are.
Unfortunately, our football has suffered from both the virus and the Anas Episode. It is clear that our football needs a DEMARCATED and SUSTAINABLE FUNDING. As a nation, we must have a strategy for funding the game that we all enjoy and need. For a long time, we have continued with a fire-fighting approach. Our football depends on seasonal funding and management, with every season taking care of itself.
Now that the whole nation is involved in rethinking and restrategising, we must take a hard look at how to fund our football on a permanent and sustainable basis. The GFA is talking about and asking for a stimulus package. Perhaps the time is short. But we should take a long and critical look at the development of the game. The love of the game returned with the Okraku administration but we must maintain it even long after the next season.
We have the Sport Act with its fund aspect. We need to establish a Committee involving representatives of all stakeholders to fashion out a novel way of sports funding. During President Kuffuor’s regime, GNPC was made to fund the expenses of the Black Stars’ upkeep and maintenance. That was part of our oil revenue. The oil belongs to all Ghanaians. There is, therefore, no reason why the GNPC was asked to stop that funding except for the mismanagement of funds.
Recently, revelations were made about GETFUND sponsoring some Members of Parliament to pursue courses outside the country with the aim of improving themselves. The business of football should be given priority over these individual and short-lived gains.
The problem we have is that we have relegated our sports and football to the bottom of our priorities. Even in the media, sports news is always the last news item and in the print press, it is always published at the back-page or in it. There was a time when the Ministry of Sports was not a cabinet position.
Sports, especially football, is not only for entertainment. It is a big business that unites us, provides many job opportunities and above all occupies our young and active population. Let us put it on a pedestal and develop it accordingly.