President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to engage former footballers in the country to discuss plans of developing the sport, especially at the grassroots level.
“Former footballers have contributed so much to the country. I believe they still have a lot to share with the current policy makers and administrators of football,” he said and urged the Ministry responsible for sports and the association to create a platform to seek the opinion and contribution of the former footballers.
The President gave the directive when some former footballers of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, including James KuukuDadzie, OpokuNti, Malik Jabir, called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra on Wednesday evening.
President Akufo-Addo commended the former footballers for their contribution to the club and the development of football in the country.
He entreated them to help develop not just Kumasi Asante Kotoko football club but local football in general with suggestions and advice.
The President’s major concern was the development of grassroots football which, in the past, developed some of the fine football talents for the national teams.
“Previously, we used to get things right with our grassroots football. We saw many talents growing up to be world class footballers. Now, it is difficult to develop grassroots soccer” he said
President Akufo-Addo urged the office of the Chief of Staff to follow up with the meetings between the Sports Ministry, the GFA, and the retired footballers and track the progress of those meetings.
“We will follow up to find out the result of these meetings,” he said.
The President also called on the ministry to design a national level system to cater for the welfare of retired footballers, especially those who played for the national teams.
“The Minister will invite you at an opportune time to begin dialogue with the GFA. It shouldn’t be a one day discussion but several discussions so that we can have old players contribute to the development of football,” he said.
George Kennedy, President of KotokoLegend, said retired players would gladly welcome any opportunity to offer support to develop the country’s football, especially at the local level.
He touched on the condition of former players and appealed to the government to help develop a welfare scheme for former footballers
According to him, many of them were living in destitution and called for support from the government and Ghanaians.
BY YAW KYEI