Cape Coast, May 12, GNA - Nana Ato Arthur, Deputy Central Regional Minister on Thursday called on the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to provide a structured development programme to ensure that the country's talented players based at the various soccer academies and centres of excellence progress to international football competitions.
He suggested an integrated system to cover talent identification, physiological and psychological profiling, video analysis and all round monitoring of the youth teams and the placement of "high premium" on the correct ages of the players as the basic criteria for selection. Nana Arthur made the call at the launch of the second phase of GFA's four-year football development plan at the Robert Mensah Sports stadium in Cape Coast.
The development plan involves ensuring the restructuring and refurbishment of the national secretariat of the football association as well as the secretariats of all the regional football associations by December 31, 2006.
Under consideration is a minimum of a second round qualification of the Black Stars at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and their qualification to the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa.
It is also geared towards ensuring that women's football in Ghana achieves the topmost ranking in African football by December 31, 2010 and to build a strong and capable human resource base at all levels of Ghana football.
The Deputy Regional Minister also asked the GFA to lay down the criteria for the licensing of the training centres to forestall the proliferation of soccer academies by unscrupulous persons. Nana Arthur explained that countries like Cote D'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and Egypt were doing well in soccer because of the effective planning embarked upon over the years, and expressed the hope that the second phase of the development plan, "would unlike the first phase, be rigidly and religiously prosecuted".
He gave the assurance that the Regional Co-ordinating Council would encourage all the 13 District Assemblies to develop football fields and other sports infrastructure to enhance the development plan in the Region.
Nana Arthur said the region and Cape Coast in particular, were honoured when the Executive Committee of the GFA held its first meeting outside Accra in Cape Coast.
Cape Coast played a pioneering role as the cradle of Ghana football and was the first to host the premier soccer match in Ghana in December 1903 between Cape Coast Excelsior and a representative side of English Sailors.
Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, President of the GFA said the Association has projected that within the next four years it would realize an estimated revenue target of 3.5 million dollars from sponsorships, the FIFA goal project and financial assistance programme, percentage payments from player transfers, gate proceeds and sale of media rights amongst others. Commenting on the Development Plan, Mr. Nyantakyi said it encompasses all areas of football and spells out how the mission and vision of the GFA could be realized.
He commended Mr. Ben Koufie, the immediate past President and all former executive members for laying a solid foundation, which the current administration hopes to build on to achieve the desired results. Mr. Mathew Doe, Chairman of the Regional Football Association expressed concern over the poor attendance by soccer fans at the function despite the publicity given it.
During an open forum, Mr. Nyantakyi explained that the decision of the GFA to cut down on the number of referees who officiate at the Premier League matches was aimed at instilling efficiency in refereeing. He said the reduction in the number of referees would enable each referee to handle at least 10 matches, and that those removed from the premier division would be engaged in other areas.
He said the development plan also covers soccer competitions for the Under 12, 15, and 17 to enable the GFA groom them to meet Ghana's future football aspirations.
Dr. Silvanus Lamptey, a lecturer at University of Cape Coast, who presided, expressed concern about the inadequate health care needs for the country's sportsmen and women when they sustain injuries and called on the GFA to address the situation.