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#SaveGhanaFootball: 75-year-old woman joins protest over constant Black Stars heartbreaks

A 75-year-old woman was one of the surprise attendees of the “Save Ghana Football” demonstration that happened on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

#SaveGhanaFootball: 75-year-old woman joins protest over Black Stars heartbreaks

Emilia Okine, a lifelong football fan and supporter of Ghana’s national team, said she was tired of watching the Black Stars break her heart.

Wrapped with a Ghana flag around her neck and a head scarf branded in the national colours, she held a placard with the message “Football is for all of us”.

Speaking to Pulse.com.gh, Mrs. Okine said she was left heartbroken, for the umpteenth time, when Ghana squandered a two-goal lead in the last minute against Mozambique, which saw them exit the 2023 AFCON at the group stage.

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She, therefore, called on football authorities to sit up and urged them to fix the deplorable pitches across the country to help keep the dreams of young footballers alive.

“At the AFCON, we were leading 2-0. So I took a short break to eat. When I returned, both goals had been equalised I couldn’t sleep that day,” she said.

“The football authorities should fix the pitches in this country, so that we won’t have to be paying others to use their pitches.”

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Another elderly protester, David Wise Ackom added: “I’ve supported Hearts of Oak and the Black Stars since my infancy. I walk from Kaneshie to the Accra Sports Stadium to watch matches. Look, our football is deteriorating entirely.

“It’s been 42 years now and we’ve not won the AFCON, and this is because of our behaviour. They say players are taking $100,000 [as appearance fees]. They’re lying, everyone is taking it too. Look at the Ghana Premier League, it’s nothing to write home about.

“A president or secretary [of the Ghana FA] is having a club in the league, so how can we cope with it? The referees are all instigators.”

Ghana football has been in a poor state in recent years, with both the Ghana Premier League and the Black Stars hitting new lows.

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The Black Stars have now been eliminated at the group stage of each of their last three major tournaments – two AFCONs and a World Cup.

Meanwhile, the women’s national teams who have been a rare shining light have also not been paid their bonuses dating back to last year.

These matters, among other things, are the basis for the demonstration, which seeks to compel the Ghana Football Association (GFA), the Ministry of Youth and Sports and other football stakeholders to put in place reforms to change the fortunes of the sport.

A petition presented by the conveners to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, outlined some of the key reforms needed, including developing a national football policy and instituting a commission of inquiry to probe the underperformance of the various national teams.

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