Editorial: GFA should not influence player selection for Qatar 2022

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) was founded in 1957 as the game’s governing body in Ghana. It is a representative democracy and the umbrella organisation for all football clubs and other interest groups in the country.

The above definition is not by The Chronicle, but as published on the website of the GFA. It adds, instructively, that the main objectives, enshrined in its statutes, are to develop football around the country, organise domestic competitions and protect the integrity of football.

The operational statement that forms the basis for this piece is the protection of football integrity. Integrity is very key and as stated, the GFA should not be seen to be engaging in practices that would dent its image and push back the love for Ghanaian football, which it wants to bring back.

The colossal damage the football fraternity has suffered since the commendable “Number 12” undercover documentary by Anas Aremeyaw Anas should put the fear of God in the people at the helm of affairs, to allow structures and systems to operate without interference.

Often times, when teams do not put up spectacular performances, some factors are considered, based on which supporters could sympathise with the team and continue to offer their unflinching support.

But definitely not when an authority fails, for whatever reason, to stand aside to allow those with technical eyes to take key decisions, in this case about who gets the nod to play for any of the national teams.

Narrowing it on the senior national soccer team, the Black Stars, we dwell on an interview a former Black Stars head coach, Charles Kwabla Akonnor, granted to Joy Sports, in which he revealed that player influence was a key challenge for him during his time. He may be right or wrong. But whatever the case, the GFA created a loophole to solicit such an excuse.

According to CK, there were many times when the leadership of the GFA influenced national team call-ups. This has been rumored over the years, but today, the person who has experienced it has come out to speak. This is aptly captured in the saying “when the frog comes out of water to report the death of the crocodile, you do not doubt it”.

CK Akonnor stated emphatically, citing the squad for the last African Cup of Nations tournament, in which the team could not even win a single match, that there were some players he would not have invited. He explained that those players had come for the pre-tournament and he had observed their output.

This revelation by CK Akonnor has come at a time when his successor, Coach Otto Addo, is yet to name his 26-man squad for the World Cup tournament in Qatar, which will commence on November 20, 2022.

Judging from the revelation by CK Akonnor, it will not be wrong to attribute the abysmal performance of the national teams to the interference in his work. We can conclude that those influences, which have been confirmed by a former coach, resulted in bringing football in Ghana into international disrepute.

Going forward, especially with the upcoming World Cup tournament in Qatar, The Chronicle will suggest that the GFA keep its hands off player selection. It would be best if the coach made his own selections based on observations made during scouting, training and pre-tournament games.

We hold the view that, unless the leadership of GFA is serving a parochial interest with the player interference or does not have confidence in the technical team, we should not be here with a coach citing player influence as a challenge.

It seems to suggest that the team does not perform well because the coaches are not totally in charge of the selection. This, to us, is not the way to garner public interest in the team.

We also take note of the hard work done by the GFA to secure sponsorship for the team and would like to commend them. However, we do not feel the euphoria that characterises the Black Stars’ preparations for a world cup.

We believe that the GFA has an option to assure Ghanaians that it does not, has not, or will not influence player selection by coaches, with the final selection to be announced this week by Otto Addo. The technical team should also use the independence given to them to select players freely and fairly.


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