Article: Keep the fire burning, GHALCA!

Author: Ebo Kwaitoo
Kudjoe Fianoo - GHALCA chairman

I have been especially thrilled by the vibrancy of the umbrella body of Ghanaian clubs - Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) - since the wind of change started blowing in Ghana Football last June.

GHALCA, led by its vocal chairman, Kudjoe Fianoo, a dyed in the wool unionist right from the days of the defunct State Traders of GNTC (Ghana National Trading Company) to date, has been proactive to the admiration of many a soccer follower. How I wish GHALCA would not lose its fire even after the storm is over.

The dynamism displayed by GHALCA so far is quite understandable because its members are the main stakeholders of Ghana Football and therefore expect a lot from their welfare body at this crucial period where their investment is in danger.

Let me pause and give GHALCA another pat on the shoulder for forming a solid Reform Committee to restructure the Ghana Football Association (GFA) even before the Normalisation Committee steps in.

That was a laudable step and the seven-man, chaired by another veteran, Jones Alhassan-Abu, seems to be doing a great job already bringing on board some of the best brains in the local game. My interaction with the chairman so far gives hopes for Ghana Football as the committee is bent on making some bold recommendations, some of which were dreaded by the 'football people' in the past.

The major problem of Ghana Football is sycophancy, cronyism, hypocrisy and selfishness. But for these cancers, I daresay that we have some wonderful people in there who have what it takes to carry Ghana to the world map again and again.

One of such potentials is Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku, the Executive Chairman of Dreams FC. I have served with him on the MTN FA Cup Committee (FA Cup) since its revival 10 years ago and can testify of Kurt's charisma. He is the force behind the MTN FA Cup and the manner in which he drives his vision through is simply infectious. No wonder that quality is so visible in Dreams FC.

Ghana football needs people with such drive now. I mean people who are abreast of the modern trends and can make things happen with their appreciable knowledge of the modern game and contacts.

Other club owners such as Messrs Wilson Arthur, CEO of Skyy FC and Skyy FM in Takoradi, who is also the DCE for Wassa East, Senator David Brigidi of Karela FC and Nana Yaw Amponsah of Phar Rangers are the new kids on the block with a lot to offer. These men are proof-producers with their clubs and can therefore not be taken for granted. The list is endless.

I urge GHALCA to keep mobilising its forces and remain vigilant till Ghana Football attain the very height we will all be proud of. It goes without saying that in Ghana Football, everything rises and falls by GHALCA which has remained a power broker from the beginning until now. A lot will still depend on this august association during and after the Normalisation Committee era.

As the FIFA team visits Ghana this week to interact with and unveil members of the much-awaited Normalisation Committee, I will not be surprised to see a GHALCA face in the team. The GHALCA chairman, for instance, is a good material who can do a great job for the committee, judging by his flawless credentials.

Fianoo, a trained journalist, has been a football administrator since the 1980s and was also a member of the Executive Committee during the first term of the former president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi.

In terms of experience in the game at the national team, club and GHALCA levels, Fianoo is peerless. With his vast experience, he can do a good job as the next GFA president or General Secretary.

However, if he is considered for the Normalisation Committee, which automatically rules him out of the GFA elections per the FIFA rules, that would not be bad either. We simply want the very best for the nation at this crucial moment, not personal interests.

Last week, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, hinted that the five-man committee chosen by the government to help bring Ghana Football back on track will be men of proven track record who can do a good job for the nation. That is all we are asking for: men of integrity who understand the modern game and can achieve the needed results as well.

I have said it before and I want to repeat it that it will only be prudent to draft the two-man FIFA/CAF liaison team, Dr Kofi Amoah, and Coach Francis Oti Akenten, into the Normalisation Committee to ensure a smooth transition and also enhance the committee's work.

With just six months at its disposal to restructure the local game and also facilitate fresh elections, it is obvious that the committee will have no room for experiment or honeymoon. That is why we need nothing less than tested people.

And whichever way the pendulum swings, both Dr Amoah and Oti Akenten fit the bill due to their active involvement in Ghana Football in the past. In summary, Dr Amoah was once a GFA Management Board member during the Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe administration in 2004 and also served as the Chairman of the CAN 2008 LOC, while Coach Oti Akenten has been involved in football all his life.

I warmly welcome the Normalisation Committee as a new bride and wish them well as all eyes are fixed on them to take Ghana Football to the 'Promised Land'.