I saw the joy on your face, when you received the WAFU Cup, which was won by our gallant local based footballers, when Ghana hosted the tournament in 2017.
On Saturday 23rd June, 2018, on News File, a political show hosted by Joy FM, I listened to the Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Godfred Odame Yeboah, who gave an account of the successful meeting between the Government of Ghana and FIFA delegation led by the Director of FIFA Africa and Caribbean, Veron Mosengo-Omba. He brought to light, what FIFA in consultation with your government discussed, and how both parties, will put in place, interim measures to allow for the continuation of football in Ghana. In addition, he reiterated that the Government of Ghana will send a delegation which will continue discussions with FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, for the purpose of finalising interim arrangements regarding football.
The latest meetings has brought a bit of relief to me as a local based footballer in Ghana and my colleagues, but we are still not satisfied. In his assertion, The Deputy Attorney General did not state the exact month or day which this meeting was going to take place in Zurich. This means that, the local based footballer in Ghana is still in limbo, as to what lies ahead of him as a professional footballer. Earlier statements made by the PRO for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, explained that FIFA will not ban Ghana. At least gave us an assurance and hope that we will still be taking our small and inconsistently paid salaries from our club owners very soon.
Your Excellency, the local based footballer in Ghana goes through a lot of challenges and frustrations as he plays a big role in selling Ghana football to the rest of the world from his homeland. The Professional Footballers Association of Ghana, led by Tony Baffoe and his team, is doing everything possible to make sure local based footballers feel a bit comfortable as they follow their dreams and passion. They have outlined plans and its implementation, as they help to fight for the right of the local based footballer in ways related to the sports, both within and outside the country. I saw the joy on your face, when you received the WAFU Cup, which was won by our gallant local based footballers, when Ghana hosted the tournament in 2017. This shows how focused we are as players in the local league. With a little support, we can bring back lost glories the country has lost.
The following are challenges local based footballers go through:
a. Majority of the football clubs do not pay us our salaries when the league is in recession.
b. In most clubs, too many players are registered, and this leads to some players being paid, while others are not paid at the end of every month. The monthly salaries are not even paid on a consistent basis.
c. Prolong delay of salaries to us players frustrates our work as most of us are married and have several financial obligations to our families. This affects the upkeep of family life badly for many of us.
d. Signing on fees are never paid in full to local based players. Players end up dragging issues with clubs at the Player Status Committee before they get their monies.
e. Issues and the way clubs treat us over our finances, makes us ready to leave the shores of Ghana for other countries, where we can be paid well and get a foundation for our unknown future.
Your Excellency, I would like to suggest the following leads to you for implementation to help make football a successful endeavor to the local based player:
a. There my must be bye laws and it must be implemented, on the subject of payment of salaries and signing on fees of local based footballers in their respective clubs. There should be sanctions as well to clubs who don't follow the directive.
b. Strict laws should be enforced on SSSNIT contributions of players by the clubs. They should be a smooth channel of continuation even in the events the player leaves team A to team B in the same league or signs for a team outside Ghana. With this, the player can rely on it one day when he retires from the game.
c. Symposiums, workshops and lectures should be organised for club owners, so they can get more updates and information on how the local based player can best be managed, in order for them to give out everything as they play their roles as footballers.
d. I honestly plead that you make collaboration between Ministry of Education, Ministry of Sports, and the Ghana Football Association possible. The goal will be to allow for the introduction of Sports related Certification Programs through several of the Public Universities scattered around the country to the local based footballer. At these universities, local based players can undertake courses like Sports Psychology, Physiotherapy, Sports Science, Sports Management etc. when the league is in recess.
This will give a mirror of life to us, as we can get a future one day when we retire from football. All of us cannot become coaches, so this will serve as an opportunity for us to explore other avenues of interest to enable us contribute meaningfully to our country, when we retire from football, which happens quite often at a very young age.
I pray that the welfare and the future of the local based footballer in Ghana will be considered as a priority, as your government takes steps to help restore the lost glories of the game in Ghana.
May the Lord bless us all and make Ghana great and strong!
Author: Abel Manomey