The Ghana Football Association (GFA) is set to launch a catch them young refereeing project to help recruit a new generation of young, budding and talented referees for the country.
Under the tag-line ‘Catch them Young Refereeing Policy,’ the move is to help replenish the stock left after the Anas exposé of corruption in football saw the refereeing trade totally wiped away. Twenty-two of the country’s experience FIFA referees were affected.
According to GFA Referees’ Manager, retired FIFA referee Alexander Neequaye Kotey, the Anas exposé seriously affected the trade and left in its wake only three FIFA referees from the old stock – namely Daniel Laryea, Latif Adari, and Paul Atimaka.
Since then, 10 new young promising referees have managed to make their way onto the FIFA list. However, the FA believes a lot more need to be done to get more referees with integrity and moral uprightness to the highest stage of the trade.
“Identifying young budding talents from the Senior High Schools (SHSs) and the tertiary levels and helping them develop the love and skills for refereeing and imbibing in them the spirit to upholding the integrity of the trade from this stage is one sure way of securing the future of refereeing in the country.”
In a chat with Times Sports at the weekend, Mr Kotey said the proposal is ready “and I’m currently putting finishing touches to the document which would be forwarded to the Executive Council, and when they are done with their part, it will be launched and started on a pilot base.”
“This is a project very dear to the FA. We need to get people who are more athletic so that when they come out, one would see a good personality in them.”
He further revealed that he is working on another proposal to make refereeing a semi-professional job.
“Refereeing, for now, is not a full-time career job. But I know in countries like the United Kingdom, Japan and Korea, some of the FIFA referees are on full-time basis.
“However, in Ghana now, we cannot straight away go professional. So we need to work around a semi-professional approach before looking at expanding it in future.”
He asserted further that: “I want to get the quality first then I know that at least I have this number of quality to get to the top. As regards quality, I am looking at the physique, age, seriousness, and readiness to work and take up any task given.”
“When I’m able to get all these from them, then we would turn them into semi-professionals whereby we will be monitoring their training, diet, and a whole lot,” he added.
Naming Algerian referee Gaboua Mustapha who is one of the five African referees named for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as one of his students during the CAF-organised first youth FIFA referee course in Cameroon in 2014 where he was the course instructor, Mr Kotey believes a Ghana referee can get to the World Cup in some years to come “if as Ghanaians, we all put our shoulders to the wheel and help in that direction.”
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY