Ghana and Italy:Continents apart ,familiar disease Last updated Tuesday July 17,2012 11:10am
17/07/2012 10:54 am
by Godfred Akoto Boafo
A recent article by Vittorio Campanile on the downwards trend that Italian football is on caught my attention and left me amazed.My amazement came from the similarities that abound in the malaise of Italian football and the parallels that can be drawn with the current situation in Ghana.
The Ghanaian league season ended with with Kotoko winning the league for the 21st time but the for me the interesting feature was the departure of some of the shining lights of the league season.
Ghana has always produced talented players just like Italy but now there is not even an attempt to keep the best players in the country at home .The reasons given by the clubs?Economic .Meaning there is the need to sell these players to balance the .
Top goal scorer Emmanuel Baffoe and three of his team mates have joined the rebuilding of Mamelodi Sundowns in the South African league.The biggest discovery in the league ,Baba Abdul Rahhman has exchanged the streets of Kumasi for the glitz of the Bundesliga with Feuther Greuth and the list goes on and on.
Italy has also in years past sold Mario Ballotelli,Alberto Aquilani and many more.
Campanile spoke about two main reasons for the downward spiral-stadia and supporters; and these two can also be situated in the Ghana case.
The Ghana Football Association and the Professional League Board continue to laud themselves over improving attendances at venues but the question I ask is how do they know?
Tickets are not numbered and the two bodies have not carried out any scientific research to posses the figures to make such claims.
What is the percentage of growth with regards to crowd attendance?
How many teams in Ghana are not reliant on the visit of Kotoko and Hearts to even make a profit?These questions remain unanswered.
The issues of stadia is even worse.
Very few teams in Ghana own their own stadia.By stadia i do not mean parks with barbed wires and no seats and modern facilities like press stands,dressing rooms and other collateral facilities such as restaurants, bars, shops, hotels and more.The development of these facilities means that clubs would not not just bring in money once or twice a fortnight, but every day of the week.
The lack of investment in the development of young players is also causing headaches.Consequently, the talent coming through is not of a high enough quality for the first team, meaning Premier league sides are ultimately forced to spend more money on player recruitment.Readers can cast their minds back to the recent transfer figures that has been paid as transfer fees in Ghana.
Just think of how much Barcelona have saved in recent years by being able to build a team around the conveyor belt of talent coming out of their excellent youth academy at La Masia.
The Ghana Football Association has not covered itself in glory with its inability to regulate the movement of promising young players from Ghana for relatively cheap prices.The lure of making money also means that the young players are also unwilling to stay at home to complete their development and seek out moves to Europe which in turn backfires.
The list of returnee players in the just ended league season reads like a who is who list including reigning MVP'S who traveled for greener pastures and returned broken and low on confidence after not making the grade.
The list of the problems of Ghana football is endless and the scary part is that the Ghana Football Association are yet to realize the time bomb upon which it sits.
The domestic game is traversing a path of mediocrity that has turned a once powerful league into a second rate league that gets its shine from a successful national team.