GFA President Energizes Girls U15 Inter-Regional Challenge Cup Committee

1 month ago

President of the Ghana Football Association, Mr. Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku, has backed the Committee tasked to oversee the maiden edition of the U15 Girls Challenge Cup to deliver a first-class and heartwarming experience for the young ladies.

The three-member Committee, chaired by Executive Council member, Eugene Nobel Noel, met on Tuesday April 16, 2024 to formulate, plan and activate processes to execute the inaugural tournament set to take place from June 22-30, 2024, at the GFA's Ghanaman Soccer of Excellence, in Prampram.

The visionary Ghana FA leader took the opportunity of meeting with the Committee to provide vital insights into the essence of the tournament which forms part of the implementation stage of the Women’s Football Strategy launched by the GFA in July, 2023.

The GFA Chief Group expressed his delight at the Committee's progress of work.

“I am very happy that the Committee and the connected sub-committees of the FA are all here. It keeps everyone involved aligned with a common purpose,” President Okraku said.

“The U15 Girls Challenge Cup falls in line with the Women’s Football Strategy implementation by the Football Association. It has a significant interest from FIFA and we must ensure we tick all the boxes. I am very happy the team is meeting – the feeling and energy within the group is heart-warming.

“Depending on how we package the first edition, we could get leverage for the second and subsequent ones. There are definitely companies in Ghana who may be interested in sponsoring Football competitions for kids. All depends on the packaging", he advised.

President Okraku indicated his pleasure with the presence of Michael Daasebre, RFAs Coordinator at the GFA Headquarters, stating that his coordinating role would be critical to the success of the tournament. He encouraged Daasebre to be actively engaged with the RFAs in this regard and stress the essence of the tournament to them.

GFA president Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku addressing members of the U15 Girls Challenge Cup

GFA president Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku addressing members of the U15 Girls Challenge Cup

Mr.  Kurt Okraku also spoke about the anticipated scope of the tournament:

“Even though they will come as a regional team, it must represent all facets of the region: Kids in school, Kids on the streets and grassroots amongst others. Talents can be found everywhere!'

In re-echoing his joy, President Okraku said the U15 stage is the most paramount among the broad player pathways identified and announced – underlying its importance to the Women Football strategy implementation development pillar of talent identification and progression.

“If we get the U15 teams right, the approach will be for them to be promoted en-bloc year after year with only about 10% of the intake being opened for exceptional new faces to be considered. We must get the U15 tournament right to ensure continuing success all the way up to the Black Queens level.

“Our Football DNA clearly speaks about the kind of players that must come through our scheme and this age group is so crucial for us. Player Selectors at the tournament would have to strictly go by the player profiles that our DNA speaks about.

President Okraku charged the committee to include safeguarding officers in subsequent engagements.

“FIFA mandates that qualified safeguarding officers must always be part of the meetings. I will urge you to include officials from Prampram as well since they will be directly responsible for the facilities that will be used for the tournament.

President Okraku charged the committee to task the Regional Football Associations’ to own the product and solicit for a broader support from their regions.

“You have to push the regions to own it. They must push their regional ministers to own this. It’s a regional representation. They shouldn’t carry this cross alone. The teams represents the regions. They should take it to the regions. The chiefs, the elders, the political leaders – lets them invest in these kids. Let’s think about delivering an experience for the people.

In conclusion, the president thanked the members of the committee for accepting to serve Ghana football.

“I thank you for accepting to serve on the committee. It’s hard work because this is very fundamental to our football development. I believe that the team here has the capacity to deliver for us. I will support the team all the way! At the end, we need to know that we’re here to serve football; we are here to serve our people.

“At the end, we must let the kids feel that they are coming to a promised land as they leave their homes. They should come, grab an experience and go back home having a feeling of fulfilment.”

The Launch of the tournament will take place on June 14, 2024 at the Headquarters of the Ghana Football Association.

The inaugural U-15 Challenge Cup forms part of the Women’s Football Strategy implementation (2023-26).