Inside story: FC Samartex's strategy for Ghana Premier League success
Dr Richard Duah Nsenkyire (2nd from left) has provided strong leadership for FC Samartex's success
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Inside story: FC Samartex's strategy for Ghana Premier League success

Samreboi, a town renowned for its timber resources and thriving industry under Samartex Timber and Plywood Limited, is set to be abuzz with celebration.

On Sunday, the local club, FC Samartex 1996, will be crowned the 2023-24 Ghana Premier League champions at the Nsenkyire Sports Arena. 

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This coronation match with Accra Lions marks a significant milestone for the club and the community.

FC Samartex’s journey to the top has been marked by strategic brilliance, exceptional team management and unwavering home support. 

Securing the title with two games to spare, the team established a commanding nine-point lead over their closest rivals, Aduana FC. 

This achievement is remarkable considering the club narrowly avoided relegation the previous season.

Club president, Dr Richard Duah Nsenkyire, attributes their outstanding success to a robust recruitment policy, intensive pre-season preparation and the integration of performance-monitoring technology.

Remarkably, the league victory has come ahead of the club’s five-year plan to dominate Ghanaian football.

Blueprint for success

Snatching the title from Western Region rivals, Medeama SC was no accident. 

It was the result of meticulous planning and execution at all levels. 

Strong leadership, particularly from Dr Nsenkyire, played a pivotal role in this success, providing invaluable lessons for football management and business leaders. 

The club's strategy encompassed technical changes, strategic recruitment, early preparation and a clear vision supported by an improved club structure, enhanced team management and a focus on player welfare and stakeholder engagement.

Reflecting on their success, Dr Nsenkyire, CEO of the Samartex Group, emphasised the importance of reviewing their debut season, learning key lessons and making significant changes to ensure a stronger campaign in 2023-24 season.

This included an initial move for one of Ghana's top tacticians, Prosper Narteh Ogum, who had previously led Asante Kotoko to a league title in the 2021-22 season.

Samartex Coach
Unassuming Coach Nurudeen Amadu guided FC Samartex to Ghana Premier League success in their second season in the top-flight 

Coach Ogum provided insights and technical guidance on recruitment and execution of the league campaign but returned to manage Kotoko, leaving a good foundation and recommending the unassuming yet effective coach, Nurudeen Amadu, to lead FC Samartex to victory.

Preparation and strategic execution

FC Samartex's success was rooted in scouting and acquiring the best talent to build a competitive team, along with comprehensive pre-season preparation.

Under Coach Amadu's guidance, the team underwent an intensive training camp at the luxurious Safari Valley Resort in the Easter Region, away from distractions.

“We improved upon certain things we did wrong last season and prioritised preparation for the league by having an eight-week pre-season campaign,” explained Dr Nsenkyire.

This preparation included participation in the pre-season Nsenkyire Cup tournament which helped identify and address team weaknesses.

Technological integration played a significant role in the team’s performance. 

Tracking vests to assess players' performance at training, while the integration of video analysis tools allowed the coaching staff to monitor and enhance individual player performances, facilitating data-driven decision-making and effective game strategies.

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The club's management invested in improved nutrition for the players and enhanced medical support that focused on regular health check-ups and monitoring to prevent long-term injuries and ensure players were in peak physical condition throughout the season.

Organisational changes also contributed to the team's success through the implementation of committee-based structures (Technical Committee, Health Committee, Welfare Committee, Security Committee, Fundraising Committee) for more effective management, ensuring delegation of authority, accountability and collaboration.

This internal realignment benchmarked on the corporate governance practices of the successful Samartex Timber and Plywood Limited, a company of over 2,500 employees, helped to foster trust, avoided conflicts of roles and enabled sharper decision-making.

Engagement and unity
Open communication and regular engagement between the club's leadership and the playing body were pivotal in creating a motivated and united team. "Personally, I was interacting with players. I brought some even sometimes to my house to watch matches so that issues that cannot be discussed with the management or the coaches, you can easily approach.

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"We held a lot of player one-on-one sessions, group sessions to discuss personal and collective issues," Dr Nsenkyire said about efforts made to boost open communication and team cohesion.

Samartex won the league having won 14 out of 15 home matches as the Nsenkyire Arena became a fortress dreaded by visiting clubs, largely due to the strength of the home support. For the 'Timber Giants', the fanatical home supporters proved to be the influential "12th Man" behind the team's success during the campaign, as they had the best home record in the competition. The club plans to continue leveraging community support through continuous stakeholder relations, building strong support networks and enhancing its reputation.

Future Challenges, Sustainable Growth  
FC Samartex will compete against the MTN FA Cup winners in the domestic Super Cup and represent Ghana in the CAF Champions League. The club's management is already planning for these bigger challenges, focusing on logistics and infrastructure improvements to meet CAF's licensing and compliance requirements.

"You don't expect people to play good football when they don't have enough and quality training grounds when they don't have the right logistics to work with," Dr Nsenkyire noted. Preparations are underway with the coach set to provide an end-of-season report, followed by a trophy tour and an early start to pre-season training for both domestic and continental competitions.

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"Everything is being done very fast. Because we'll start the Champions League competition on August 13."

FC Samartex's journey to the top offers valuable lessons in preparation, planning, flexibility, adaptability and community engagement. Their success story underscores the importance of early preparation, strategic recruitment, continuous learning and stakeholder engagement in achieving and sustaining excellence in football and beyond. 

As they celebrate their historic win, FC Samartex's blueprint for success sets a high bar for rival clubs in the seasons to come. 

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