Manifesto to improve local football - GFA Presidential hopeful, Nana Yaw Amponsah

BY: Kweku Zurek
The President of Phar Rangers Football Club - Nana Yaw Amponsah
The President of Phar Rangers Football Club - Nana Yaw Amponsah

It may be early days in the race to succeed Kwesi Nyantakyi as Ghana Football Association President but the President of Phar Rangers Football Club, Nana Yaw Amponsah has re-affirmed his intention to contest the polls in 2019 by releasing an ambitious manifesto detailing his vision for Ghana football.

Till date, the 34-year-old club administrator is the only aspirant to have openly declared his intention to contest the polls ever since the GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi announced that he will be stepping down from the helm when his tenure expires in two years.

He may also go down in history as the first aspirant of the GFA Presidency to produce a document detailing his intentions for Ghana football as leader of the organisation.

A copy of Mr Amponsah's novel manifesto copied to the Graphic Sports details his intention to improve the top-three tiers of Ghana football by empowering the clubs with infrastructure and securing sponsorships for the various stakeholders of the three top tiers of Ghana football including clubs, referees.

The document contains scant detail on sources of funding especially for 10 of his proposed projects but Mr Amponsah who is abroad on business explains that funding his plans will not be an issue, adding that the manifesto is only an overview.


According to the 34-year-old who holds a Master’s Degree (LLM) in Sports Law and Practice from the Leicester De Montfort University in the UK, he understands football as a business and funding the projects won’t be an issue.

"I will espouse the entire manifesto and break it down for all to understand how I intend to lead in achieving all that I hope to. Of course the document is only an overview and I know very well the doubters would question feasibility but I will begin to achieve some before 2019," Amponsah told the Graphic Sports in an interview.

"Football business is not rocket science. It’s quite simple if you understand it’s a business in the first place. It won’t be a stroll in the park but very achievable. Funding is not an issue at all".

Transfer Fund for clubs

His mouth-watering proposal to introduce a "Transfer Fund" which will provide each Premier League and Division One League club with $25,000 and $10,000 respectively in his first term is likely to delight some club administrators especially given that the winner of the 2015/2016 GPL Wa All Stars got US$ 30,000 as a cash prize.

64 training pitches for all league clubs

The manifesto also plans to renovate 64 training pitches for all league clubs within his first four-year tenure.

He is also advocating the establishment of an ultra-modern national teams training centre and medical centre which will serve as a training base for all national teams.

One league centre one ambulance

The manifesto also takes a page out of President Akufo Addo's playbook with the proposal of a "one league centre one ambulance policy" to safeguard the lives of players during matches.

He also buys into the vision of government by proposing a return to the academical system with a view to establish 10 regional; academies in collaborations with the Ministry of Youth and Sports using 10 Senior High Schools as bases.

Amponsah who recently won the 2017 Sports Personality of the prestigious 40 Under Awards admits that the Ghanaian football economy is an "export-based" one and in his manifesto details strategies which will ensure that exodus of players would reflect positively in the financial status of clubs.

Amponsah is not worried that the exodus of players will rob the league of its best players if the process is streamlined, insisting that his proposal would rather strengthen clubs financially.

He explains: "Player exodus can never be halted by anyone, However we can make regulations to streamline it. Our football economy is an export one. However if we do not package our products and add value, we cannot get the right proceeds for same. Assuming Hearts of oak gets 10,000 fans at each match, can they net $1m at the end of the season? NO. But they can easily sell 1 or 2 players to net $1m.

"Even the most developed leagues are selling players so why do we want to stop? If a club sells two players each season can’t it get the needed funds to take care of the rest of the team and give more players opportunities?

"We must understand that not more than 5% of players in Ghana will get the opportunity to play outside Ghana. So if we can get proceeds from the 5% to take care of the remaining 95% why should we stop it?

The man who facilitated the transfers of several Ghanaian players abroad in including Joel Fameyeh, Francis Narh, Awal Mohammed, Nathaniel Asamoah, and Latif Abubakar insists that negative player exodus must be eliminated - "Those of players going to unknown relatively poor leagues and that of minors being trafficked by unscrupulous agents".

"Ironically, exodus can be controlled by positive exodus. That is if clubs are able to get true values for their players through effective packaging and branding of their players, they will have enough funds to pay their players well to a point where they will not leave for mere pittance".

Reforms

Amponsah is not happy with the current structure of the GFA and the calendar of the Ghanaian Leagues which he says affects the transfers of players to the best European Leagues.

Firstly, he plans to make the league autonomous withing two years of his leadership by handing rights to an independent body which he says will allow the GFA to concentrate of national teams, Division Two and juvenile colts football through the Regional Football Associations.

Mr Amponsah is also hoping to introduce the concept of two Vice Presidents of the GFA to ensure effective delegation of powers and the adoption of a maximum of two four-year term tenure per GFA President.

Under his leadership, Amponsah also plans to establish an independent tribunal to adjudicate cases to ensure quicker decision making and abolish the "boardroom points system".

This, the manifesto says will help towards regularising the league calendar so it runs simultaneously with the major European leagues to enable clubs transfer players easily.

He also plans to abolish several activities which affect the finances of clubs including the payment of officiating fees by seeking lucrative sponsorships for the activities of referees and striking out the 10% of transfer fees charged Ghanaian clubs for the International Transfer Certificate of players.

Upsetting the existing order

Amponsah is confident that he will scale a familiar hurdle which has ruled persons out of contesting the GFA Presidency in the past - the endorsement of nomination forms.

In previous polls, 10 Ghanaian football clubs must endorse the candidature of an aspirant before the elections committee of the GFA can clear someone to stand the federation's presidential elections.

Amponsah believes this won’t be an issue, "having worked actively behind the scenes selling players for these same clubs, generating revenues for them and advising them on business strategies which many of them now regret not heeding to, signatures would not be a problem.

"Those who know me and even those who don’t but spend time to listen to me will be convinced. Some claim the “football people “ are blind but I promise you the blind will see by 2019".