A former chairman of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Alhaji Mohammed Nuru Deen Jawula, has urged the newly elected GFA President, Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku, not to focus his attention only on the senior national football team but also devise innovative and practical means of branding domestic football to be very attractive to fans during his tenure of office.
He has also asked the new FA boss to spread his net wide and tap into the knowledge and experiences of other football administrators and even those outside of the football family to enable him to succeed and make a big impact.
Alhaji Jawula noted that making the local leagues attractive again to get the fans to fill the stadium during league matches, as was the case during the era of Herbert Mensah and Harry Zakkour as chairmen of Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, respectively, would be an important mark of success of Mr Okraku’s administration.
While congratulating the Dreams FC founder and Executive Director on his hard-fought victory last Friday to succeed Kwesi Nyantakyi, Alhaji Jawula noted that as a short-term measure, the new FA boss should also initiate moves that would improve the capacity of local players as a way of boosting their confidence level and performance to endear them to football fans.
He said it was equally important for Mr Okraku’s administration to institute measures to build the capacity of local coaches to make them competitive at both the local level and on the international front.
“I have worked with him on many occasions and I know that he has the capacity to turn things around for the better. That is why I am advising him not to be prejudiced as he mounts this hot seat but rather court the friendship of all and tap the ideas of both the old and new football gurus to enable him to improve the quality of the game, coaching and officiating at the local level,” Alhaji Jawula, the 19th GFA chief, told Graphic Sports Online in an interview.
Touching on the standard of officiating in Ghana and how to improve their standard, Alhaji Jawula said the newly elected FA capo should turn his attention to the tertiary institutions for interested students to apply and be trained to start officiating from the lower divisions.
“With proper training and the right incentives, the young referees can build their capacity so well that in four years many of them will be capable of officiating very well at the various league centres during Ghana Premier League matches with, many others wearing FIFA badges to officiate during international matches,” he stated.
Alhaji Jawula, who was chairman of the GFA between 1997 and 2001, charged Mr Okraku to create a healthy relationship with the ruling government in particular and sports ministers in general with the view to enticing the government to support the development of football at all levels and also entice corporate entities to have keen interest in supporting the development of Ghana football through corporate sponsorships.
“There is no need for the FA to create an unhealthy relationship with the government as it used to be because it will not yield any positive result. It is for this reason that Kurt should go all out to create good rapport with the government to support football in diverse ways.
"As a journalist, he should also find means of bringing his colleagues on board to enable them to whip up interest in the game to accelerate its development,” he stated.