Sunday 25th October, 2020 was exactly one year since Kurt Okraku was elected the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA)

The GFA Presidential election which was held at the College of Physicians & Surgeons in Accra on 25th October, 2020 failed to produce a winner in the first round, after no candidate managed the required 50% plus one votes.

This forced the voting exercise into a run-off, which was contested by Kurt Okraku, George Afriyie and Nana Yaw Amponsah after Fred Pappoe pulled out.

Mr. Okraku polled 44 votes in the first round and went on to poll 59 votes from the total votes cast in the second round, forcing George Afriyie, who polled just 43 votes, to concede defeat.

Mr, Okraku then went unopposed in the third round and polled 93 votes to emerge winner in the GFA Presidential elections.

Here are the highpoints of Kurt Okraku's led GFA administration:

Transparency and accountability:

The Ghana Football Association (GFA), under Kurt E.S Okraku has put in place measures to be open to Ghanaians to win the hearts of the football fraternity.

Most Ghanaians had a perception that the Ghana Football Association is shredded in secrecy.

However, the current GFA administration is changing that narrative by being transparent and accountable to the football fraternity.

For instance, at the extraordinary congress of the Ghanaian football governing body in 2019, congress approved remunerations for the members of the Executive Council. It was revealed that the President of the GFA will receive a monthly salary of GHC 12,000, while the Vice President will receive GHC 7,000, with the other members of the Executive Council being paid GHC 4,000.

Another area that GFA has scored high points is in the area of transparency: The General Secretary is now in charge of all businesses of the GFA. He signs contracts and agreements and the GFA afterwards publish details on their website.

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Well-resourced Secretariat

The General Secretariat is the administrative head of the Football governing body of any football association. This is in line with the FIFA status, but previous GFA administration deviated from that and the President of the GFA performed administrative duties as well. It limited the powers of the General Secretary.

However, the current GFA under Kurt Okraku has empowered the General Secretary to take full control of administrative duties and report back to the Executive Council.

It has also limited the powers of the GFA President who could previously sign contracts without the knowledge of the Executive Council of the association.

Various officers have been employed to occupy key positions in the administration of the GFA namely Human Resource Manager, Finance Officer, Marketing Manager, etc. These officers report to the General Secretary.

Bring Back the Love:

Kurt Okraku’s led GFA launched ‘Bring Back the Love’ campaign to ignite Ghanaians interest in the domestic leagues and the Black Stars.

Kurt Okraku inherited a Ghana Football Association which had come out of normalization following the Anas Number 12 expose’, so Ghanaians had lost interest in both domestic football and the Black Stars.

But with the ‘Bring Back the Love’ campaign the 2019/2020 Ghana Premier League brought much excitement and it drew a handful supporters into the various stadium.

Some of the strategies put in place was a flexible schedule which enabled some matches to be played in the evenings.

Catch Them Young Refereeing Policy:

The Kurt Okraku led Ghana Football Association (GFA) launched the ‘Catch Them Young Refereeing’ policy purposed to unearth the potentials of young talented referees across the country in 2020.

The initiative is to identify, educate and train young talents aged 13-16 to officiate in juvenile matches within their regions.

Speaking at the launching ceremony held at the GFA’s Secretariat in Accra on Tuesday, the President of the Association, Mr. Kurt E.S Okraku said the policy was part of efforts designed to instil the values of refereeing at an early stage and to train them to attain the highest level in refereeing.

He said “If we want good male and female referees who can compete with the best, then it is important to identify and start training them at an early age.

We want to comb every corner of the country to find boys and girls with a passion for refereeing and add value to them.”

The GFA President also mentioned that the policy would enhance the morals and integrity of young prospective referees and build their ambitions in the course.

Mr. Okraku added that, the GFA wants to have the policy across all the District football Associations to give a fair chance to every young person with an interest in refereeing.

Appointment of Referees Manager

With the approval of the Executive Council, the General Secretary appointed Alexander Neequaye Kotey as the Referees Manager of the Ghana Football Association.

The Referees Manager heads the Refereeing Department of the GFA and shall report to the General Secretary.

The Referees Manager performs, among others, the following duties:

- Assist the Referees Committee

- Implement decisions adopted by the Referees Committee

- Carry out all tasks related to the logistics of Refereeing

- Carry out all administrative duties of the Refereeing Department, and

- Implement programmes to develop Referees according to the guidelines approved by the Referees Committee.

The appointment of the Referees Manager by the General Secretary is in accordance with Article 44 (k) of the GFA Statutes 2019, which states as among the functions of the General Secretary that:

Alex Kotey, a 2006 SWAG (Sports Writers Association of Ghana) Referee of the Year, has worked as a Referees Instructor, Referee Assessor and also a Match Commissioner.

The retired FIFA referee officiated at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations held in Ghana. He has also handled games at the CAF U-20 level and the CAF Champions League, where he handled matches up to the semi-final level in 2007.

Challenges

Miscommunication

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) signed a contract with local dealers in football Macron to be the headline suppliers of football for the upcoming season.

However, the GFA in announcing the deal made Ghanaians believe it was signed with international football manufacturers Macron.

A section of the Ghanaian football fraternity descended on the GFA for misleading the football fraternity and it put the association in a bad light.

Cancellation of the 2019/2020 domestic football season

The 2019/2020 domestic football especially the Ghana Premier League kicked off to a good start. The buzz around it was very high and the GFA scored high points in bringing back the love.

But the Coronavirus outbreak forced the league to be suspended in March, before it was finally cancelled in August. The Ghana Football Association are now back to square one and they need to restrategize very well as they aim at making the leagues exciting.

Headline sponsorship

The Ghana Premier league and all other domestic leagues under the watch of the current football association are without a headline sponsor.

They have to only rely on the little sponsorship from StarTimes as media sponsor.

The football clubs have been lamenting over inadequate funds to prepare their teams for matches.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) is yet to sign a mega contract to help ease the hardship on clubs.

How would you assess Kurt Okraku’s led GFA after a year in office?