Ghana Women’s Football League: Players labouring into abyss
Madame Hillary — Chairperson of Women’s Football Committee

Ghana Women’s Football League: Players labouring into abyss

On March 5, Arsenal Women Football club annexed the Continental League Cup final at Selhurst Park. The cup is the equivalent of the English Premier League.

Before that feat the players witnessed a 30 per cent pay increase in remuneration according to the club’s latest published accounts sighted by the Graphic Business.

Arsenal defender, Leah Williamson is thought to be among the women's team highest earners, with a reported salary of £200,000 per week.

This compares to the best-paid male players, striker Gabriel Jesus and midfielder Thomas Partey, who are reportedly paid a similar sum every week - adding up to over £10m a year according to the BBC.

Female players plying their trade in England also enjoy some form of sponsorship from global brands such as Nike, Adidas, while television deals and gate receipts also add up to cushioning  these women who rub shoulders with their male counterparts with respect to the beautiful game.

Women’s Football in Ghana

This cannot be said about female players plying their trade as professional footballers in Ghana. Female football in Ghana runs on a low budget and with little to no media publicity, it only lives as a figment of imagination in the minds of many football lovers in the country.

There are 18 teams playing in the Women’s Premier League in Ghana. The last winner of the league, Ampem Darkoa Ladies, struggled to access funds to feature on the continental level.

The women’s league is made up of teams from the security services namely the Police, Army, Immigration and Prisons and majority civilian clubs. Players who play for the security services are security officers who are employed by these state security agencies. 

Players of the civilian clubs are left at the mercy of their club owners, financiers and managers. They neither receive any monthly stipend nor are they paid any weekly wages. They depend on the benevolence of well-wishers, and extra jobs to feed themselves and their families.

“The situation is very serious; if you are lucky and you are called into any of the national teams then you can rely on per diems and allowances during international tournaments,” Rosalind Amoh, a women’s football advocate, told the Graphic Business.

With an estimated sponsorship package of GH¢40, 000 per club to support in their participation of the league, an amount given to them out of the sponsorship packages from BetWay and Guinness Ghana Limited, such an amount is woefully inadequate for the entire season.

Madam Hillary Boaten, Chairperson for the Women’s Premier League Committee told the Graphic Business that most of the clubs lacked the fluidity to pay their players and take good care of them.

To make things worse their male counterparts have flouted a CAF directive to partner these women clubs to offer some form of support. She wants the FA to effect this directive from CAF.

“Also the branding of the Women Premier League (WPL) must be intense, more work needs to be done to attract the right kind of spectators. Promoting it in schools could be a good way to start attracting the right spectators. There are a lot of young girls interested in the game now but hardly know about the WPL and its fixtures,” she noted.

Inflation and FA’s role

With the cost of living very high and inflation skyrocketing, one wonders how one is going to live on a pittance for a whole season in the football league.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) under which this Women’s League falls has done little to nothing to support the Women’s League. In a country that is well dominated by male football, the least the FA can do is a little more investment in women football and drawing publicity to it.

With little hope left for these players and their teams, the league may struggle to sustain itself. The players in the Women’s Premier League will see the English Premier League and Arsenal ladies as a dream and theirs as a nightmare.

Perhaps the solution lies in the FA and the Women’s League Association taking the women’s aspect of the game more seriously.

But for now these young girls who are plying their trade as footballers in the country are labouring into the abyss.

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