Credited with creating a 32-team community football tournament in the Ashanti Region, Dr Kwaku Oteng, the CEO of Angel Group of Companies, has shown great commitment in sports promotion over the years through his popular Angel FM and health products subsidiary.
His latest competition, dubbed, ‘the Adonko Community Games took-off in the Ashanti Region some few days back and has high hopes of reviving the dwindling fortunes of Ghana football.
The business mogul spoke to Graphic Sports roving reporter Oscar Mohammed over the weekend at his plush offices at Krunum Abuohia and these are the excerpts;
Graphic Sports (GS): Good day Sir
Dr Oteng (DO): Thank you and Happy New Year to everybody at Graphic.
GS: We are amazed and dazzled at this great project that you have embarked upon, by organising a 32-team tournament. What is your motivation?
DO: You are welcome. Well, I am highly motivated to embark on this laudable Adonko Community Games project to help unearth talents, create jobs for the youth, bring football to the doorsteps of the people, bring happiness to every home and above all produce players for the national teams.
GS: This indeed is a laudable idea and a big one considering the number of teams that are involved, I will also say this is Adonko Ashanti World Cup. How do you do it alone?
DO: (Laughs) Well you are not far from right, it is an unprecedented attempt and indeed big one, which entails a lot but God being our tower and buckler, Adonko Community Games will grow into a big time thing. For now, I am doing it alone with some support from other companies, but since it is a well-planed tournament, everything is going according to plan.
GS: You said this was just the beginning. Do you have plans of sustaining and modifying it into something bigger?
DO: Football being what it is has been used in solving thorny issues all over the world. It serves also as unifying module, job creating machinery, stress releasing exercise, Adonko Community Games has come to stay. It is just in its infancy and we can build upon it. As a matter of fact plans are far afoot to have it played twice in a year to make the impact felt.
GS: That is a big plan that will need big financial backing. How is it going to be sustained?
DO: It is a well-planned project that I have taken time to put up, and things such as finance that you mentioned have been considered. Adonko Community Games will soon be a household name and a force to reckon with in Ghana football. In that, it will give platform to good players who one way or the other could not get access to showcase their God-given talents.
GS: What in your estimation prompted this laudable idea?
DO: Having been a footballer before, I know what goes into it. As the game has seen transformation which comes with its attendant requirements, Ghana being blessed so much has abundance of football talents, many of whom don’t have the platform to play. So with the idea of creating this Adonko Community Games, such players who fall within will freely be admitted to display their talents and get potential club to ply their trade. So, Adonko Community games belongs to all especially the downtrodden.
GS: Tell us how the organisation has been. I mean the challenges you have observed in the 32-team tournament which many are saying has been successful?
DO: For challenges, certainly yes but our determination to see this amazing Adonko Community Games succeed to profit many has overshadowed them. Issues such as camping, transport for the teams, dietary issues, venues, security and others that appeared as trouble spots have carefully been noted and taken care of. Our plan of bringing football to the doorstep of the people is on course. The determination to use this Adonko community tourney to give platform to our players who can’t have a chance like this to showcase their God-given talents have all gone home satisfied.
GS: Have some of the players who participated in the Adonko Community tournament been spotted by our premier and divisional clubs?
DO: Certainly yes, by what I know due to the array of scouts and agents who have constantly been here to spot players. The good news is that those in the hinterlands who hitherto had the difficulty to get access to display their talents have dazzled and have been spotted.
GS: Good one there. Have our football authorities, the GFA and ministry of sports been informed of this laudable idea?
DO: Yes, they are in the know. We have it big so all the fundamentals have been put up.
GS: It means you have plans of involving yourself in Ghana football, to more or less contribute your finance and energy towards its growth directly?
DO: Why not? As a patriotic Ghanaian I have done a lot but still want to do more as my social responsibility. The only snag that could be a hindrance here is the way I could fathom the amount of insults that is commonplace in our football circles; the fraternity seems to be least provoked to insult those at the forefront of affairs and even authority which to me is out of place. Throughout the world it had taken companies and private individuals to help shape their communities like we are doing, which has gone a long way to bring jobs to people and our dear nation is not an exception. We need to re-orient our psyche by stopping the myriad of insults that we heap on our leaders to create an enabling environment, attractive to businessmen to invest their monies in the game.
GS: Have you played football professionally?
DO: Oh yes, I have played before I was a very good midfielder in my day. Back in my hometown in Agona Domeabra in the Ashanti Region, I was the toast of fans anytime we played. All over that place and beyond I was a household name.
GS: Do you have plans of extending the Adonko Community Games to other regions?
DO: It is part of our plans and very soon others in other regions will have a feel of this phenomenom. Sure, it will be systematic thus from one region or two to another and it won’t be long, that all over the country, the Adonko Community Games will be a household name.
GS: How come a tournament that is in its infancy is able to attract large crowds that could be the envy of some of our premier clubs?
DO: In fact, I am overwhelmed by the attraction and the heavy attendance, not to speak of its popularity. I thank God for the successes there, the way it was planned by taking it to their doorstep and the promotion which we have an already blossoming machinery in place is another. It will just get better as time goes on.
GS: Can you enlighten us on the thrilling name that is associated with this laudable scheme—Adonko Community Games?
DO: Adonko Community Games, as I said earlier, is a well-calculated and thought out thing. The competition derives its name from the medicinal component that I have taken time to produce to help the populace especially sportsmen and workers called Adonko. It is a product that I have come out with to help the society, especially sportsmen and women who have difficulty maintaining their health and diet. It is an extracted combination of herbs that is very efficacious for athletes who one way or the other have problems that hinder their output.
GS: What advise do you have for our athletes especially our footballers?
DO: By my status as doctor who is well versed in such issues, firstly, I will say footballers especially, desist from what in our local parlance is called juju. The practice being what it may is an affront to nurturing their dream. There is no historical proof that it has helped anybody. On the other hand, womanising and other social vices go a long way to thwart their efforts.
GS: If you are called today to play part in our football by the authorities, will you consider it?
DO: If the need arises why not. I will do whatever I can to help after all I have been serving the people all my days.
GS: What is the state of Ghana football?
DO: Ghana football has been on the ascendancy in recent times. Only that the Black Stars have not won a silverware for a long time which has blighted all the achievements but there is silver lining behind the dark clouds. I know it wont be long till they win something big.
GS: Thank you for the interview.
DO: Thank very much, send my best wishes to all at Graphic especially my good friend Mr. Felix Abayateye whom I have great respect for.
GS: They will be informed.