This week, African football heavyweights will storm Accra to deliberate on important issues confronting the game on the continent and also participate in the inaugural Sly Tetteh Legacy Lectures in honour of the late Alhaji Sly Tetteh.
The meeting in Accra by CAF’s Executive Committee, led by its President, Ahmad Ahmad, comes as little surprise, as the national capital has, on many occasions, played perfect host to the movers and shakers of African football, not least when Ghana’s football chief, Kwesi Nyantakyi, is the second-in-command at the continental body.
The decision by the GFA President to include the Legacy Lectures in the itinerary of CAF’s bigwigs attests to his reverence for the late football administrator who passed on to glory while playing a Sunday kick-about in Cape Coast.
Not only did Nyantakyi have a very close relationship with the founder of Liberty Professionals; close associates speak of the key role the late Tetteh played in the rapid rise by the FA capo within the corridors of power within WAFU and eventually CAF where he is the First Vice-President.
Nyantakyi himself will be delivering the keynote address, on the theme: “Breaking the mould in the business of football: The vision, purpose and works of Sly Tetteh”, which is expected to extol the virtues of the pioneering role played by the man who built a football institution which became the envy of many until his untimely death.
Apart from giving the African football gurus insights into what made Sly Tetteh a successful, yet unassuming, football administrator par excellence, the Graphic Sports hopes the maiden lecture will set in motion the habit of celebrating Ghana’s heroes and immortalising the outstanding ones such as the late Alhaji Sly Tetteh.
In fact, the presence at Friday’s lecture of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, among other sporting icons such as Abedi Pele and Azumah Nelson, should set the stage for the reintroduction of the Sports Hall of Fame instituted over a decade ago for the late Sports Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, but abandoned as an important national project.
The Sly Tetteh Legacy Forum was instituted by Sportslife, an amalgamated group of stakeholders in Ghana sports, to honour the memory of a visionary football administrator, businessman and philanthropist who had an unmatched eye for spotting talents whom he groomed into world-class stars, including Michael Essien, Sulley Ali Muntari, Asamoah Gyan and Kwadwo Asamoah, all products of the famed Liberty Professionals.
Alhaji Sly Tetteh was unique. He pioneered the radical model of football administration, management, player development and marketing in Ghana, together with his partner, Felix Ansong.
However, beyond celebrating this unique man who is credited for playing behind-the-scene roles to ensure Ghana’s qualification for the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments, the Sly Tetteh Legacy Forum should change the mindset of Ghanaians and Africans as a whole to embrace modern methods of football management anchored on strong business models such as was practised in Ghana and other parts of Africa by the late Liberty Professionals founder.
Just as Sly Tetteh breathed freshness into football management, it is hoped that his inaugural lecture opens new frontiers in Ghana sports as a whole to embrace the concept of honouring and celebrating the nation’s heroes and immortalising their memory.