The Ghana Football Association and Division One League Board’s peace tour of teams in the Northern Region came to a successful end on Thursday at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale.
The tour which was to cover all teams playing in Zone One of the Division One League started in the Bono and Ahafo Regions on Monday.
The tour took the delegation through the nook and cranny of Zone One with the ultimate aim of ensuring violence-free football during the second round of the season which kicks off on Friday.
The GFA/DOLB delegation which included GFA president Kurt E. S. Okraku, Executive Committee Member Frederick Acheampong, Members of the Division One League Board John Ansah and Sheik Tophic Seinu, Referees Appointments Committee Chairperson Christian Zigah, Chief of Staff to the GFA president Michael Osekyere and Upper East Regional Football Association chairman who is also chairman of the Black Starlets Management Committee Salifu Zida.
The teams in attendance at the meeting included Real Tamale United (RTU), Tamale City, Steadfast FC, Yendi Gbewaa, Wa Suntaa, Paga Crocodiles and Women Premier League teams Perlpia Ladies and Northern Ladies.
This was the last stop of the delegation on peace tour of Zone One of the Division One League. In attendance and representing the clubs were chief executive officers (CEO’s), supporters’ chairpersons and other official and or management members of the teams.
During the session, speaker upon speaker shared their views on the happenings during the first round. When it was his turn, CEO and Board Member of Tamale City Football Club Jones Abu Alhassan disputed allegations by teams in the Bono and Ahafo Region that the current FA has an agenda to get a Tamale-based team qualify into the premier league. He cited the trajectory of the journey Tamale City has passed through and said they had been solid in their performance for anyone to allege that they are being favored to qualify. He said those were negative assertions by his detractors just because of his relationship in being the campaign manager of Kurt Okraku during the GFA elections. He said the delegates voted for Kurt Okraku based on what he described as divine intervention and the content of the message they presented to what he called “discerning delegates” who “bought into the message”. He said no amount of hatred can distract the forward march of teams from Tamale who he said started their preparations earlier before the start of the season.
For his part, Northern Regional Football Association (NRFA) chairman Alhaj Abu Hassan Mahamadu Rhyzo who chaired the function said officiating in the Division One League has improved tremendously this season. He called on clubs to equip their Public Relations Officers (PRO’s) to defend their course in the league in terms of performance so that “no one throws dust into the eyes of the public about the positives we are seeing this season.” He commended the Kurt Okraku administration for ensuring that the verdict of the match review panel are released in record time as compared to times past where verdicts could be released “with two or three matches to the end of the season”. He said what he had witnessed so far in the league is commendable.
Executive Committee Member Frederick Acheampong took time to respond to some of the queries that were made by the team officials saying some of them are due to lack of information. He particularly took time to explain to CEO of RTU Alhaj Ahmed Dawuod why their match against Techiman City had to be moved to the Wa Park instead of Tamale which had been communicated earlier. He apologized for the inconvenience caused in the late communication to the team and said the competition department took a lot of things into consideration before the decision was made.
In his closing remarks, GFA president Kurt Okraku asked that teams should nip hooliganism in the bud to ensure that the entertainment arm of the game of football is what is projected for all to enjoy. He promised that his administration’s promise to decentralize the registration of players for teams was in the pipeline. Adding that teams in the Ghana Premier League and Women’s Premier League and Regional Football Associations had received their set of office equipment saying that of the Division One League teams was still “in the high seas” and soon when they arrive, teams will get them.
The second round of the Division One League continuous this weekend with matches across all centers.