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05.11.2019 Opinion

Open Letter To GFA Boss Kurt Okraku

Open Letter To GFA Boss Kurt Okraku

Dear Kurt, I commend you for your bold decision to defy all odds to contest the tough Ghana Football Association (GFA) presidential election and win the mandate to manage the nation's most treasured sport for the next four years. What a privilege to succeed the man who rose to become the Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and a FIFA Executive Council member. I pray you rise to that height as well one day since I believe you have the qualities to repeat that history and even surpass it.

Let me quickly state that much as the plaudits have started pouring in to greet your victory, so a huge responsibility lies in wait for you to meet the expectations of the football family in particular, and Ghanaians in general. As you know already, the football constituency in the country is huge, hence the need to work hard to satisfy all and sundry and make a name for yourself.

One thing you should bear in mind is that whether you stay in office for four years or eight years, Ghanaians will still judge you by the standard set by your predecessor, Kwesi Nyantakyi. At least, the three successive FIFA World Cup appearances and the historic FIFA U-20 World Cup triumph will suffice here.

However, the truth of the matter is that such a target cannot be achieved overnight since we don't have championship teams in place now to take on the world as was the case in the last decade. You have to tell Ghanaians the truth to be patient and manage their expectations while you roll out a strategic plan, together with a well-constituted GFA Technical Directorate, to executive it right from scratch. Though it is a good step to launch a campaign to 'bring back the love' for our national teams, I believe positive results will spontaneously stir the passion of Ghanaians to be crazy about the national teams again.

Talking about the performance of national teams, I wish to appeal to you to focus on empowering our home-bred coaches instead of over-relying on expatriates who add nothing to our game but rather spite our local league and also milk our tight economy dry with their outrageous demands.

Kurt, as a member of the last GFA Executive Committee (ExCo), you will understand the internal politics within the football fraternity and also know the landmines to avoid. You already know my position on certain issues based on our private discussions, but let me caution you that the sycophants, bootlickers and scavengers who paraded the corridors of power during Nyantakyi's era are still around.

I know you are a smart young man who listens to a lot and talks less, but this is just simple advice to guide you never to throw caution to the wind. I also know you believe in your convictions and will do anything to achieve it. If you can stick to that, it will help a great deal since you will be bombarded with all kinds of suggestions and programmes from all angles on a daily basis.

Let me confess here that I was impressed with the consistency of your answers during the last presidential debate, though some people thought you kept repeating yourself. Instead, I noticed that your answers were based on your manifesto which, for me, was remarkable. As you kept telling me on the few occasions we spoke during your campaign, the content of your #GameChanger manifesto was a direct response to the concerns raised by the clubs during your interaction with them. If that is the case, then I will encourage you to focus all energies on delivering on that mandate to win the confidence of the delegates.

Talking about delegates, you should always be reminded that the number of votes you polled (44 and 59) in the first and second rounds, respectively, clearly indicate that you don't have an overwhelming majority, but as a leader, you are supposed to be a unifier and a father of all, including your opponents and their supporters. I know that is a tough task, but it should not be beyond you for the sake of the development of the game.

My brother, as for the choice of your vice, it should be a straightforward decision without blinking an eye. Please take that important decision with the benefit of hindsight without fear or favour since whoever you choose can make or unmake you. If you ask me, I will simply say let loyalty be your guide! Go for somebody who believed in your candidature right from the onset and also endorsed it with his votes. Loyalty is everything!

Kurt, since your wife, Becky, and myself share the same spiritual father, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, it will be worth your while to undertake some vital private lectures on loyalty and disloyalty from her. It will help you navigate your way through this complex maze smoothly.

Another key point which I think should inform your decision regarding the choice of a vice president is the corporate card. Instead of merely selecting an old face or a friend, please go for somebody who can be a key to unlock the firmly shut doors of the corporate world. Where we are now, there is no belabouring the point that Ghana Football needs somebody who the business world can feel comfortable to deal with on behalf of the GFA.

I prescribe the same criteria for the appointment of the General Secretary who is equally crucial to the running of a more functional FA Secretariat as you promised in your manifesto.

As part of the ways to ignite passion and create wealth for all, per your slogan, there should be an antidote to the rampant match-fixing phenomenon among clubs which badly affects the credibility of competitions and the eventual champions. You should also tackle the canker of bribery of referees with full force by instituting the necessary sanctions to restore confidence in the game and eliminate the unending boardroom disputes.

Kurt, another area of grave concern which should be fixed permanently by your administration is the FA's judicial bodies which need mature and level-headed legal brains to eliminate suspicion and mistrust in the GFA's dispute resolution mechanisms.

Through well-planned professional engagements with the media, all products of the FA can be well promoted as you did during your days with the MTN FA Committee. As a trained journalist yourself who has practised in this hostile environment before, you are well-placed to appreciate the challenges of the media and can cooperate with us to enhance our work.

Kurt, you know, all the media requires is respect, accountability, transparency and fresh news. Once you regard the media as a key partner in the development of the game, you can rest assured that we will work hand in hand to help you achieve your targets without necessarily being in bed with your administration.

With that harmony and co-existence, wealth can indeed be created through corporate sponsorship at all levels for the benefit of all direct and indirect stakeholders of Ghana Football.

As a media man, you should know I will be so much interested in the GameChanger manifesto's fascinating promise to provide data for all media personnel at the various league centres when the league commences. We will surely look forward to that.

While wishing you and your team well, let me leave you with this final advice to always keep your elegant wife by your side just as you have begun. At least, her presence will cover you spiritually and also ward off the Jezebels who will seek to bring you down on this tortuous road with their high-level manipulations.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."