A GNA feature by Caesar Abagali
Tamale, Oct. 13, GNA - There was massive jubilation in the Tamale Municipality and some parts of the country when the Tamale lads, Real Tamale United (RTU) beat Kumasi Asante Kotoko to lift the GHALCA special knock-out trophy in Accra.
It was one of the rare instances for RTU to have lifted a national cup and even to beat one of the strongest teams in the Ghanaian Premier league outside their home grounds to lift such a prestigious cup (GHALCA Knock-out Cup). The team popularly referred to as "The Pride of the North" has unbelievably lived up to expectation.
They have always been unpredictable in most of their matches including the national league. The going was not so easy for the club in the last season's league. The non-performance of the club were characterised by self-made problems as well as others imposed but they persevered and sailed through at the end and occupied a respectable position on the league table.
The schedule of the Premier League has often not favoured the club as matches were and are always fixed without due consideration to their club's distance and the number of times they have to travel to cover such matches thus worsening their plight. Financially, they have always been vulnerable.
However, it is praise worthy and a credit to the management, playing body and supporters for their ability to always recover, weather the storm and able to reorganise and regroup to stamp once again their authority on Ghana football.
The fact that they defeated Kotoko tells a simple fact that the Tamale lads cannot be dismissed easily. Arguably therefore, RTU must be counted among the elites of football clubs in the country. This, however, is not sufficient, for in the very nature of their success also lies their failures.
The club's achievements are very unpredictable and inconsistent. But like in many other things with Ghana sports, inconsistency is the bane of the club.
The club must therefore strive hard to obtain a high level of consistency and predictability in order to have progress both nationally and internationally. It is also when there is consistency that a solution can be found to the financial problem.
RTU must also strive to obtain a high level of professionalism and use untapped potentials available in the north. Streamline its management and spread the basis of its financial support widely and ensure that they win some of their away matches to maintain the pride and honour of being the only that has succeeded from up North.
One way of tapping the potential is to either establish an academy in the north or affiliated with an academy with the support of other financiers, individuals or clubs as well as seeking both internal or external assistance. And it is in this vein that Wienco Fertilizers, the main sponsors of the club must be highly commended for sustaining their un-alloyed assistance.
Other sources of revenue must be sought for in the form of organising raffle draws, embarking on fund raising activities as was done in the past, printing and selling of the club's paraphernalia, support from District Assemblies and the traditional authorities and individual well-wishers as well as the use of joint ownership of club's assets with external financiers.
The management of the club must also involve government institutions in the north in its activities and to seek for employment for its players. They must also forthwith cease with maintaining a narrow northern boundary-like system of organization and be more business like in approach.
The potential of the club is loud and clear and it is for this reason that the GFA should not be bias when selecting players into the national teams from the various league clubs. In an earlier article, hailing RTU in their 25 years of continuous existence in the league, I made it clear that the club was born in a region that is rocked by poverty, disease and now conflict, retarding the clubs progress. I also called on the framers of the idea to form the club to bring their brains together to ensure that the team becomes a "power Block" in Ghana soccer.
These personalities includ Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji M.N. D. Jawula, Alhaji Rahimu Gbadamosi, Alhaji Ibrahim Adam, Alhaji Sherif Savana and Adam Munkaila whose following cuts across the political divide or chieftaincy inclined among others should commit themselves in making sure that RTU is placed on a high pedestal. Aside them other individuals both in Ghana and abroad should try to invest in the actual development of the team.
It is also clear that RTU has helped in making Ghana football what it is today. Thanks to RTU for narrowing the geographical distance of the country by bringing people all the way to the north who would not have gone there.
Not only has RTU produced the best footballer ever to emerge in Africa in the person of Abedi Ayew Pele as well as producing players to almost of the clubs in the country and they have also made the league very competitive in given something to be proud of to the north. It is therefore in the interest of this country to see RTU move up the soccer plane.