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GFA launches National Elite Talent Identification Programme

BY: Kweku Zurek
Kurt Okraku, GFA President (second left) addressing yesterday's launch. He is flanked by (from left) Mark Addo, GFA Vice President, Bernhard Lippert, GFA Technical Director and Hestrine De Reus, FIFA Instructor.
Kurt Okraku, GFA President (second left) addressing yesterday's launch. He is flanked by (from left) Mark Addo, GFA Vice President, Bernhard Lippert, GFA Technical Director and Hestrine De Reus, FIFA Instructor.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) in partnership with the world football governing body, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has launched a programme targeted at identifying and developing the most talented youth players (male and female) in the country.

Dubbed the National Elite Talent Identification and Development Programme it aims to identify 5,000 of the most talented footballers aged between 11-14 years from across the country to form the base of the various national teams.

The programme would be piloted beginning next week in the Greater Accra region before its rolled out across the remaining 15 regions of the country.

Launch

Speaking at the launch of the programme yesterday (October 5, 2022) in Accra, the Head of Talent Identification of the GFA Technical Hub, Papa Nii Lartey said as part of the pilot, 500 of the best talented juvenile players in Accra would be identified and grouped into two age groups; 11 years to 12 years and 13 years to 14 years.

"After the 500 players have been selected, they will go into a development programme which will see each district producing 12 players to form a team for a district league within the region," Mr Lartey said.


"The best players will form a regional team and this will be replicated in the other regions".

He stressed that the purpose of the programme was to bring parity in terms of quality between young Ghanaian players and their European counterparts.

The best players under the programme will then be transitioned into the national U-15, U-17, U-20 and U-23 teams.

Revolutionary honest approach

The Technical Director of the GFA, Bernhard Lippert said the programme would revolutionise the development of young players in a "bottom-up" approach which would see Ghana's national teams reap the benefits of top players within three to five years.

He said the most positive aspect of the programme was that it would put in a place an honest scouting network for the selection of players into the junior national teams.

Mr Lippert further disclosed that the selected players in the two age groups would be trained twice a week by top talent coaches during the programme.

On her part, FIFA Instructor, Hestrine De Reus said the programme was proof of FIFA's belief in Ghana's massive talent potential.

She said FIFA would provide expertise, training, education and knowledge exchange to ensure the success of the programme.

Nyantakyi eulogised

Eulogising form GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi for his contributions to the development of football in Ghana, GFA President, Kurt Okraku said investing in the future was key to sustaining the gains chalked since Ghana made its first appearance at the FIFA World Cup in 2006.

He added that the vision of the programme was to provide all talented Ghanaian children with a fair and equal opportunity to play for the national teams.