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14.05.2004 Sports News

The Barreto formula will work

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(A GNA feature by William Ezah)

Accra, May 13, GNA - The decision of a Sekondi High Court to lift the injunction placed on the Ghana Football Association (GFA), that barred it from organising the 2004 Premier League seems to be a soothing news for all football lovers as it has now paved the way for the FA to focus on its programmes for the year.

From all indications, the novelty zonal league, which was adopted by the FA due to a delay in the start of the normal league, has been further delayed in its commencement by the court's injunction.

It is based on this that many soccer analysts, coaches and administrators have called on the GFA to abandon the zonal league and wait till September for the proper organisation of the league.

This proposal is being made because it will afford the nation the opportunity to have a football calendar, which will be in conformity with the European league as well as that of our North African brothers. Though many football lovers have made this proposal before, it was the Black Stars Coach Marriano Barreto, whose view on the topic was given a wider publicity and dubbed the "Barreto Formula."

On the other hand, many including the premier league clubs have also argued that "we are not Europeans, therefore, there is no need for the implementation of such a programme", whilst issues of player rustiness, club-player-contract, payment of players salaries among others have been some of the main points which has been used to substantiate this argument.

Some have even argued that the system had been tried before but it ended up rendering the players less busy after the completion of the league in the early part of the year.

Obviously, these are genuine arguments being advanced by those who want the FA to stick to the zonal league.

A critical study of the formula however shows that it is the right solution for Ghana football. This is because the coach's proposal will play a major role in solving some of the numerous problems that have confronted the nation's soccer over the years.

It is an undeniable fact that most football loving Ghanaians have been yearning for a league that will be synchronised with the European system for a long time, so as to afford us the opportunity to have a full complement of our foreign and locally based stars for national assignments.

To buttress this view, it will be noted that a break in the European league as well as that of Ghana will enable the national coaches have access to their full squad both local and foreign based players, thus bringing to an end the usual issues of "country versus club conflicts" that has bedevilled the beautiful game for sometime now especially in some African countries.

This arrangement will surely enhance the performance of our national teams and will go a long way to boost the ranking of the nation at FIFA as well as boost the image of the nation on the international scene. Again, a study of the GFA's programme for the year, reveals that even the novelty zonal league is bound to witness series of breaks when it finally kicks off as the various national teams will soon be engaging in international assignments such as the world cup qualifying series, the Under-17 and Under-20 qualifiers and the Athens Olympic Games. Aside these, the nation's representative in the CAF organised competitions will be very busy with their campaigns in their quest to win laurels for the nation.

This will definitely result in series of breaks in the already delayed zonal league and make it unexciting and its overall purpose may be defeated.

For sometime now, Ghana's representatives in the CAF competitions have been confronted with the problem of presenting weak teams to CAF for the competitions and this accounts for their failures at various stages in most of the competitions.

A completion of the league by the middle of every year according to the "Barreto Formula", will enable the clubs take advantage of it and to embark on quality recruitments to fill some gaps that might be left in the team for the competition due to foreign trials by the players and the decision of some of them to quit their respective clubs at the end of the season.

This obviously will enhance the performance of the teams in the competitions since they will be well prepared in terms of materials, physical fitness and other aspects of team building.

On the other hand, players suffer all forms of injuries and other related problems because they hardly enjoy any form of rest after each football season.

It has also been proven scientifically that players need at least one or two months of rest after every season but this is not the situation in Ghana, as players are kept busy throughout the year without any rest.

However, it is apparent that a completion of the league in September will ease the burden of players and match officials because they will have fewer matches to play thereby enjoying adequate rest and preparations for other competitions.

The idea might be coming late but it is the best for the nation at this trying moments and it must be adopted once and for all in the best interest of Ghana soccer.

The question of naming representatives for the next CAF competitions remains one of the major bothers to this proposal but as stated elsewhere this can be solved through dialogue.

The Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) seem to have the desired capacity to handle the issue together with other pertinent problems associated with the synchronisation of the league with the European system.

The adoption of the formula might be a difficult decision to take but the nation is at a crucial point and there is the need for sacrifice and a lot of diplomacy in a bid to find an amicable solution to it. This is however not the time to take a look at where the proposal is coming from but to consider it merits and demerits in the interest of Ghana soccer. 10 May 04

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