Part of the reasons our club football is struggling to be attractive is the lack of useful investment. I commend everyone in club football in Ghana for their sacrifices but from close observation I see three classes of football clubs here. First, are those with no capital whatsoever and for them anything goes if players can run and kick.
Then there are clubs who have some money and the potential to excel in certain contexts if they employ the right personnel to better manage their investments. This group boasts of loyal, dedicated fans and traditions that indicate that, with deliberate planning backed by strong financing, they would carry our club football as previously done on their shoulders, which presently are so weak to bear any weight overseas.
Then the last group of clubs who have little to nothing in terms of fan base or great capital but through good networks and collaborations are building relevant football brands that win the admiration of all. Accra Lions Football Club belong to this group.
The latest news on them suffices. “We are proud to announce that former German international, World Cup Winner and FIFA World Player of the Year, Lothar Matthäus has joined Accra Lions Football Club as board member and shareholder” says a statement on the club’s twitter handle.
“ALFC, now under the ownership of Matthäus, the Ghanaian professional footballer, Frank Opoku Acheampong and the club’s chairman Oliver König, aspire to tap into Ghana's football potential and become a driving force in player development” it adds. “The investment will particularly emphasise bolstering the training infrastructure to ensure the players receive excellent preparation.”
A few things are notable in the above. One, Lothar Matthäus’ status at the club didn’t happen by chance. Diligent work must’ve taken place to bring him on board. Next, the club’s aim of player development from their very beginnings reinforces their vision. Plus, their resolve to prop up training infrastructure to prepare players supports their goal.
Accra Lions’ success would impact on our club football but exactly what is the Ghana Football Association’s role or even doing to aid for example poorly established clubs to position themselves for such viable investment? What progressive initiatives have the Kurt Okraku administration taken to enhance football club management since 2019?
It shouldn’t be hard to answer this question if you’re with the FA especially when Kurt claims they’ve created a “good environment” for investors to come to Ghana football. The developmental efforts clubs make to grow their brands like Accra Lions have done ought to be commended and their managers encouraged for more.
What are the laudable, verifiable things other clubs are doing for example on their governance; ownership, board and managerial issues, financial sustainability plans, human resource management, infrastructure, etc. to be attractive football brands?
The listed things are what serious investors would look at, but they are also most clubs even in the Ghana Premier League are grappling with till date. They are the things that facilitate growth. They are the things that should be of prime concern to the GFA. This is what I have been musing on as Accra Lions dominate local football news this week.