After Impregnating the Football Terrain with his Game Changing Ideas, How well has the delivery process gone after 9 months for the Game Changer, Kurt Okraku
On October 25 last year, an intention became a declaration. A dream, harbored and nurtured for long was concretely put together and made public in a document form.
A campaign; perhaps not just a campaign but the blueprint for carving the path for Ghana Football’s redemption had been revealed.
Eyeballs rolled, tongues were set wagging, and questions were asked!
Of the many probing, one phrase resonated with persons who really thirsted for a new wave; The Game Changer. The football people needed something different. Something that will transform the game we all love. They yearned for a Game Changer, stood before them was one man; A man, ready to offer himself to begin the Renaissance of Ghana Football after a period of a troubled normalization process.
The time to climb the throne drew nigh; enter October 25…The football electorates gathered. Their task; to elect for themselves a leader… Someone they trusted to steer the people’s game back to prominence.
The initial writings on the wall pointed towards one thing. The day was going to be for one man. The man who preached a game changing experience for Ghana Football; he would be that man. That man, Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku, was duly elected the new Ghana Football Association President.
From a campaigner, he had become leader; one who brings together, the entire football divide and pulls them along the path towards redemption.
From a bird’s eye observation, the journey never looked easy; neither did it look too tough. A clear sense of a perfect in-between that was laden with surprises, setbacks, plus a whole lot the industry offers.
This piece follows through how the Game Changer has lived his tenure in the last 9 months. He impregnated the terrain with his ideas, now is the time to ascertain how well the delivery process has gone. Ensuing writings will center on the exploits of Kurt E.S. Okraku as Ghana FA President.
GROUNDBREAKING SUPPORT FOR WOMEN’S FOOTBALL:
Equity and not equality! Thus the agenda adopted towards bridging the yawning gap between the Men’s game and that of the women.
Such was the forlornness that existed among female footballers that there needed to be an improvement. That, we have seen. Soon after assuming office, Kurt Okraku and the GFA’s executive council parceled out an amount of GH₵ 160,000 to the 16 Women’s Premier League clubs to prepare them for the start of the new season.
This was unprecedented, but it did not end there. As earlier promised, clubs were supplied footballs and other equipment to prepare them well enough for the season start.
The earlier signs proved laudable, the preceding interventions have been impressive.
Courtesy Kurt Okraku, Women’s Premier League players totaling 480 will for the first time ever be receiving monthly allowances of GH₵ 500 for the next 6 months commencing July 2020. Overall, 500 individuals are expected to benefit from this initiative of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA).
The GFA President’s zeal to see women’s football thrive amid the COVID-19 storm has also seen Women’s Regional Division One League clubs get financial assistance from the Ghana FA through FIFA’s Covid-19 relief package for the first time ever.
These unexampled interventions and others are only indicative of how the future will look like for women’s football under the Game Changer.
ENHANCED COVERAGE OF FOOTBALL COMPETITIONS
The coming on board of Kurt Okraku as Ghana FA president has seen certain things being done differently. Coverage of the various GFA organized competitions has witnessed massive improvement. The local game now benefits from a coverage that focuses on greater depth and detail than what existed previously.
To start with, The Women’s Premier League games are now more accessible especially through social media (where the Ghana FA streams live selected matches). There are plans to introduce this to the National Division One League from next season with needed gadgets and equipment already secured for this purpose.
For the first time, the National Division One league has a dedicated social media channel that updates on matches, results and even focuses on Match day scorers plus overall scorers. This has heightened interest in the sector.
Same can be said for the Ghana Premier League and there’s even more to that. The partnership with StarTimes saw an unbridled coverage of the top flight with many viewers across various platforms enjoying the content that was made available by the top broadcaster.
These transformational spurts are similar to how the Game Changer changed the game and drew massive following for the FA Cup at a time when he was Head of the competition’s organizing committee.
Surely the game is changing and witnessing this in barely a year is a big plus for the Kurt Okraku administration. It can only get better going forward.
DIGITIZATION OF GHANA FOOTBALL:
There is a new way of gathering, broadcasting and making relevant information in football that is accepted globally. The Ghana Football Association under Kurt Okraku has decided to tap into this global vision by ensuring the country’s football governing body transforms a chunk of its information into digital content.
Digitization is the new and most appealing way; the Ghana FA under The Game Changer has decided to play the game this way.
Immediately after his election, Kurt Okraku’s influence was felt with the Ghana FA setting up digital platforms to reach out to the larger football community. The new GFA blended digitization with the existing ways of communicating and this has proved a perfect marriage so far. The Ghana FA now has an effective communication strategy that cuts across various divides and appeals to football aficionados irrespective of the demographics.
The Ghana FA has set up a digital studio to mostly cater for production of digital content about the association’s products. Now, reportage via the Ghana FA’s official website and other recognized channels has improved drastically due to the use of quality digital content (image, videos, et al).
Logos have been done for the various competitions i.e. the National Division One League, The Women’s Premier League purposely to aid the rebranding agenda. Dedicated media channels have also been created for the various competitions to allow for dedication and much focus. It’s so far so good for Ghana Football with this new approach.
RESTRUCTURING AND REBRANDING OF REGIONAL FOOTBALL BODIES
The unwavering waves of change sweeping through the game have now curved to the various regional football bodies.
All the Regional Football Associations are undergoing a GFA guided rebranding and restructuring process so as to strategically position themselves to;
- Be up to standard in their dealings with the mother body (Ghana FA)
- Be more visible on digital platforms
- Position themselves well enough to appeal to potential sponsors/partners
- Heighten interest in the game at the local level by using innovations widely accepted and used by modern day football followers
The RFAs have created logos, Social media pages, websites etc. that serve as channels for communicating information and marketing their products or content.
The RFAs have set up various committees as well to plan how best football can be developed at the regional levels.
All these are interventions Kurt Okraku through the Ghana FA is putting in to ensure the local game is more appealing, easily accessible and widely appreciated.
MENDING THE FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GHANA FOOTBALL AND CORPORATE GHANA
After the airing of Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Number 12 documentary, Ghana Football’s foundations shook. Brand Ghana Football got tainted. The integrity and goodwill enjoyed by the country’s football governing body was affected. The dog had been given a bad name; certainly it was set for the guillotine.
Corporate entities who served as potential partners of brand Ghana Football took a backward step after the reputation and integrity of several high profile football administrators were besmirched in the documentary.
The public who consume football products on a large scale had already sealed the fate of the sport we all love. It was run by a group of corrupt persons.
Based on these happenings, there needed to be a conscious name cleansing exercise by the next football leadership. However this didn’t prove the case as a FIFA/Government appointed Normalisation Committee made what was already worse more severe.
They miserably failed at the annealing process, triggering a cacophonous hubbub in the football system.
Upon his election as Ghana FA boss and the eventual constituting of an Executive Council, Kurt E.S. Okraku has initiated a process of bridging the gap that occurred between Ghana Football and the corporate world during the troubling last 3 years.
He has done this successfully by portraying a new Ghana FA that embraces transparency, an open door policy, and infuses professionalism in its dealings. It’s a clear and positive deviancy from the old ways that characterized football business in Ghana.
The Ghana FA boss has initiated tête-à-tête engagements with corporate entities, top business persons and high profiled leaders of the various stakeholders of Ghana Football to win back their confidence and support. What this does is to ensure the once fractured relations can be healed to aid a future of harmonious dealings that benefits brand Ghana Football.
The Ghana FA has also been forthcoming with information about monetary dealings unlike what existed previously. The publishing of the disbursement formula for FIFA’s Covid-19 relief package to Member Associations is the latest and typical example of how the public have been let in on dealings of the country’s football running body.
In summary, Ghana Football isn’t what the Game Changer promised yet; it is however well on course. After 9 months, it is best to say that Ghana’s football’s redemption agenda is progressing steadily albeit there have been some challenges.
The Game Changer’s initial seeds sowed have germinated. The plants need watering so they can grow well enough to bear fruits. The earlier signs are positive and give a hint of how the future will look like. This future for Ghana Football will certainly change the game for good.