The 10th GFA/PLB Awards held at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra turned out to be much more than the usual wining and dining and conferring awards on personalities. It was a gathering of ideas, simply put!
So is my apt description of that great event not because of the reading of long speeches but the quality of content delivered by some great minds on the night?
The royal touch aside, the free consultancy provided by Osagyefo Oseadeayo Agyeman-Badu II, and Mr Ernest Thompson, the Guest of Honour and chairman respectively at the function were vital clues for our sports authorities to address the myriad of problems bedevilling Ghana Sports.
Unfortunately, no minister or official from the sports ministry or the National Sports Authority was sighted at the event. But I think it is not too late for any of them to consult the above-mentioned personalities for the papers they delivered at the event, portions of which were published in last Monday’s edition of this paper, and elsewhere in this edition.
Most significantly, the two respected personalities did not only lament over the problems facing Ghana Sports but they went on to proffer some laudable suggestions on the way forward in a remarkable manner.
As expected, Mr Welbeck Abra-Appiah turned on the emotions of the large audience with his last speech as the PLB chairman after a decade’s uninterrupted service as he bowed out gracefully when the cheers were loudest.
Everything was on point, and the immaculate outfit of the 19 PLB officials as hosts was too conspicuous to be ignored.
Before dropping a couple of ideas too, let me doff my hat for the newly-crowned Footballer of the Year, Eric Opoku, for working so hard to clinch this enviable honour, especially in the same year his club Ashantigold annexed their fourth league title in 19 years, while Kudjoe Fianoo and Bashir Hayford emerged as the best CEO and best coach respectively.
Without taking anything away from Opoku, I don’t think he belongs to that class of exciting performers who can pull fans to the stadium anyday as some of the previous winners whose names made the headlines throoughout the season.
That was, perhaps, the reason why the league’s best player was not in Maxwell Konadu’s CHAN team. Obviously, that would not have been an issue had he been that outstanding in the league.
Or was it because Coach Konadu had better midfield options than Opoku in his team, or that the selectors did not do a good job enough, or because his club, Ashantigold, won the league?
There are more questions than answers. But let me quickly add that this has nothing to do with personalities but it is a way of raising the bar for the selectors to know they have a responsibility to meet the expectations of some of us as keen observers.
The selectors also owe us an explanation as to whether an invitation into the various national teams do not also matter much in arriving at who the best player in the league should be.
Beyond that, may I suggest to the PLB to consider creating a category for the individual bankrollers in the league as a way of encouraging them considering the huge sums of money they pump into the running of their clubs season after season.
I’m not in favour of the argument that club owners should be awarded instead of CEOs, simply because they play different roles which are equally important in the game.
You need to visit Kudjoe Fianoo, for instance, at the Ashantigold secretariat in Obuasi to appreciate his managerial role for the league champions. On the other hand, it is the club’s board which provides funds to enable him to operate.
That means the two roles are mutually exclusive as they complement each other to ensure success. That is why I think it is wrong to compare the two. That will be like comparing apples with oranges.
I end by saying kudos to the outgoing PLB chairman, Mr Abra-Appiah, for a doing a great job in such a sensitive position for 10 solid years.