Ghana Premier League (GPL) players have heaped praises on the National Coordinator of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Footballers Registrations, Joseph Nkoo, for his role in ensuring that clubs did not renege on payment of their contributions to their players.
They lauded his sustained ‘fight’ “to make the clubs do the right thing.”
A former player of Legon Cities Football Club, Elvis Opoku, described the service of Mr Joseph to the football industry as “phenomenal.”
Opoku, who said he was speaking on behalf of GPL players, in a signed statement to the Times Sports, recalled instances where the National Coordinator had to intervene to get players contributions sorted out.
“I listened to this young man called Nkoo Joseph on a sports programme when I was playing for Aduana Stars at Dormaa some seasons ago, explaining why footballers need to join SSNIT. He later came to register all of us from Sunyani and our management started paying for us,” he told the Times Sports.
According to the outspoken midfielder, until the emergence of Nkoo, they had been left out of the SSNIT contributions for a very long time, forcing most of his teammates to hang their boots prematurely “since they think they had nothing to depend on at old age if they continued playing.”
He said when he moved to Legon Cities Football Club in 2020, he realised too that Mr Joseph had come there earlier and arranged for the registration of players onto the SSNIT scheme.
“So, when Legon Cities wanted to register me onto the scheme, I told the administrator I already had a SSNIT number from Aduana Stars. They collected it and told me they had enrolled me on it.
“However, I had issues with them and had to quit playing for the club only to find out that even though they were deducting contributions from my salary, they never paid for me,” Opoku alleged.
He said with the support of his manager, he reported the case to the Player Status Committee and some media houses, after which he got Nkoo’s contact through a journalist after listening to him on a radio, educating the clubs on the need to pay players contribution.
“Nkoo became a huge blessing to me and my colleagues when I got in touch with him last November as he directed us to someone at the Airport City Branch of SSNIT, where Legon Cities had their file.”
Opoku said after initial frustrations, Nkoo personally took the matter up and ensured that his contributions of almost five thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢5,000) was paid from December 2020 to December 2021.
Former Inter Allies FC player, Prince Baffour, ex-Aduana Stars key player Richard Mpong and a host of Elmina Sharks players have all had their contributions paid through the effort of the National Coordinator.
Opoku recalled a day when Hearts of Oak had to rush to pay GH¢50,000 for their players, while AshantiGold parted with GH¢10,000, “all because I heard Nkoo on radio threatening SSNIT was going to send them to court for failing to pay the contributions of their players.”
Failure to pay social security contributions of workers constitutes a criminal offence under Pension Act 766 of 2008.
The local players’ spokesperson appealed to Nkoo to “continue fighting for the voiceless players whilst we get more of his kind to fight on our behalf because we want to enjoy pension at our old age.”
He appealed to him to extend his campaign to the Division One clubs “since players there also receive salaries.”
BY JOHN VIGAH