AFTER five weeks of rigorous and exhaustive campaigns, the stage is set for today’s historic Ghana Football Association (GFA) presidential election to be held at the FA Secretariat.
For the first time in the history of Ghana football, a female candidate, Amanda Akuokor Clinton will challenge four energetic ‘football people’ – namely George Afriyie and Fred Pappoe, former FA vice presidents, Kurt Okraku and Nana Yaw Amponsah.
The other contestant, George Ankoma, is virtually new to the association.
All six candidates will find out after the election how delegates have been convinced by their respective campaign messages.
Calling the build up to the ‘D-Day’ a ‘do-or-die’ affair and one would not be far from wrong.
The atmosphere has been full of tension and anxiety from when the Dr Kofi Amoah-led Normalisation Committee (NC) announced the roadmap for elections to select new officers to lead the Football Association (FA).
Despite the tumultuous nature of the congress to approve reforms undertaken by the NC, the ground was set for candidates to officially declare their candidacy and followed up with integrity checks and vetting in order to get the needed candidates to lead the association.
Successful candidates progressed and launched manifestoes and also partook in discussions on several media platforms to sell their messages to delegates as well as the larger followers of the game.
But the biggest storm proved to be the disqualification of a seventh candidate, Wilfred Osei Kweku (Palmer), the financier of Tema Youth Football Club who was accused of breaching a few rules of the FA General Regulation.
That set the stage for the quest for justice as Palmer wrote to the Court of Arbitration for Sports to rule on the matter and overturn the decision of the Vetting Committee (VC).
While the parties waited with baited breath on the outcome of that action, there were a few injunction threats from lower division clubs seeking detailed interpretation of the VC ruling.
The NC, however, held the election for Regional Football Association (RFA) chairmen as contained in the roadmap.
Attempts to serve the FA with another Writ of Summons in the last three days also proved futile with a Bailiff from a Tema High Court meeting an abandoned FA Secretariat.
With no other hindrance in sight, the NC went ahead with the election of personnel to the Executive Council yesterday to pave the way for today’s showdown.
And barring any unforeseen happenings, today’s exercise will attract 120 delegates representing the various stakeholder groups associated with the FA.
Interestingly, all five candidates have shared brilliant ideas in their bid to be given the nod to revive the fortunes of the FA.
But it appears in the absence of Palmer, George Afriyie has been touted an overwhelming favourite with a few of his followers predicting a ‘one touch’ victory.
That confidence may have arisen over his connection to clubs in the Brong Ahafo Region (now Bono and Ahafo regions) which houses quite a number of clubs.
The decision to launch his manifesto in the region was deemed very strategic.
But Fred Pappoe is also considered a very formidable force considering his experience as a former vice president under Kwesi Nyantakyi with whom they qualified Ghana for two successive FIFA World Cups.
He is also considered a unifier and disciplinarian whose ambition is not only to give football a new look but change the attitude of workers of the association.
Then comes the group touted as ‘darling boys’ – Kurt Okraku and Nana Yaw Amponsah.
Kurt is a dark horse who could cause an upset with some of the ideas he hopes to bring when elected into office. His plans and vision to market the game appears to have gone down well with his followers which include some big wigs in the industry.
Nana Yaw Amponsah came to prominence after winning a case at CAS with his Phar Rangers team.
His message has been mainly on the transformation of the leagues which he hopes to enroll on several media platforms, while pledging to halt the payment of officiating fees by clubs and find ways of generating revenues for the FA to absorb that cost.
George Ankoma is speaking about football tourism and ridding the game of corrupt officials while Amanda Clinton is hoping to bring reforms to the FA.
With the brilliant presentations from all, delegates may have a difficult task making their choices.
BY ANDREW NORTEY