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KEN’S CORNER: Ghana’s Division One League ameliorating under Kurt Okraku’s GFA

The Ghana FA under Kurt Okraku has led the way in strengthening the football sector in Ghana with several transformations and developmental interventions on a national scale

I have been a huge follower of the Ghana’s Division One League for decades and I can attest to the fact that the league which was on the decline under previous administrations is currently fast improving under the administration of Kurt Edwin Simon Okraku as President of the Ghana Football Association.

Since ascending the throne as the overlord of Ghana football on 25th October, 2019, Kurt Okraku and his subordinates at the Ghana Football Association have exerted a colossal number of initiatives and investments to make Ghana football, particularly, the Division One League a higher quality.

The Ghana FA under Kurt Okraku has led the way in strengthening the football sector in Ghana with several transformations and developmental interventions on a national scale.

Due to the suspension of football as a result of the infamous Anas Exposé which uncovered some rot in Ghana football, and the subsequent establishment of the Normalization Committee in lieu of an existing and functional football federation, football activities were severely starved for growth.

The progress in the administration of Ghana football was further impeded and truncated due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic.

Despite all these, I can boldly apprise that the Division One League has seen significant improvement, particularly in competitions and fundings.

Below is a summary of all interventions and policies instituted by the Ghana FA that I can recall since Kurt Okraku took over in October, 2019.

As part of efforts to make the league competitive, the Ghana FA introduced the off-season sponsored dDOL Super Cup competition which was launched on August 11, 2021.

The Division One League Super Cup was specially created for the best performing clubs in the second tier league to take off in September 2021 with Daboase-based Skyy FC winning the maiden edition.

Aside the creation of the Super Cup, the Ghana FA has made huge financial investments in the division, announcing an established merit award of Gh¢50,000 plus 40 gold medals for first position in each zone while the second and third position in each zone will pocket Gh¢30,000 plus silver medals and bronze medals respectively.

Other financial investments made by the Ghana FA under Kurt Okraku includes a total of Gh¢285,000 as incentives for DOL clubs with an additional Gh¢25,000 for each zonal winner to prepare for the Ghana Premier League season upon qualification which started from the 2019/20 league season.

To unease the financial burden on clubs after the coronavirus pandemic, the Ghana FA gave USD$75,000 from CAF and FIFA covid-19 relief fund to all the 48 Division One League clubs and Gh¢470,000 from the Government of Ghana as covid-19 support package allocated to all DOL clubs.

I can recall that prior to the commencement of the 2022/23 league season, the Ghana FA was able to secure a headline sponsor for the Division One League with Access Bank in a deal worth USD$250,000, a thing that has eluded the second-tier league for a very long time.

What marvels me is the Gh¢15,000 worth of fuel for each of the 48 clubs and the Gh¢5,000 worth of shopping vouchers for the clubs. Also to ensure a bribe-free league, the Ghana FA under Kurt Okraku has also absorbed all officiating fees for referees and match commissioners to the tune of Gh¢2,647,500 for each football season.

I have not forgotten the fully paid expenses for fifteen heads of division one league clubs to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar where Ghana was eliminated in the group stage.

The production and streaming of 120 division one league games by the Ghana FA to make the league accessible on television and online has been magnificent.

With what I have mentioned above, I think the Ghana FA under Kurt Okraku, a University of Liverpool alumni, is improving the division one league. Cheers!

Sheikh Tophic Sienu

Tophic Abdul-Kadir with the pen name Sheikh Tophic Sienu is a Ghanaian journalist with specialization in sports reporting and media consultancy. He has been a practicing sports journalist since 2008 and a media consultant for many government agencies and private sector organizations. He studied Communications Studies at the Christian Service University College in Kumasi and is currently pursuing an MA in Strategic communications at the African University college of communications in Accra. He also holds B.ed in Basic Education from the University of Education, Winneba. Married and blessed with two handsome boys and a girl, Sheikh Tophic Sienu resides in Accra, the capital of Ghana and currently works as the editor for West Africa’s fastest growing football portal – FootballMadeInGhana.com.gh Until his appointment as editor for FootballMadeInGhana.com.gh, Sheikh Tophic Sienu was the editor for the colourful football portal 442gh.com and also spent three years with the biggest football website in Ghana, GHANAsoccernet.com as a writer and reporter. He is a regular television analyst/football pundit on Ghana Television (GTV), Metro TV as well as serving as a pundit for the Bundesliga on match days on GTV Sports+. He’s highly respected for his knowledge of the African game, his punditry on the German Bundesliga as well as his admiration and consistent updates of the Bundesliga, the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup as well as the AFCON on social and mainstream media. He is one of a few football writers in Ghana to have had the opportunity of traveling to cover the Bundesliga on a media visit organized by the DfB International and broadcast partners StarTimes. He is a well-organized team player, detailed-oriented and able to handle multiple tasks. He has covered several events including top international sporting events – Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), West Africa football Union (WAFU) and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar- as well as serving as a consultant for several football clubs and media outlets in Ghana. He is a perfectionist and always wants to achieve the best out of the lot. He is always a unifier wherever he is found as well as helping to accelerate the achievement of goals and has positioned himself as a valuable resource in a variety of situations. Even though he believes in certificates, he believes in what he can do more than what he has. He is highly connected in the Ghanaian media as well as several Africa countries and is a valuable asset to facilitate and accelerate the achievement of goals through the media and communication industry.

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