The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has been commended by the National Youth Employment Agency (YEA) for mooting the idea of seeking assistance from government for footballers during this COVID-19 pandemic.
This timely move from the GFA has seen 1000 slots been allocated to various sportsmen and women through the ’’Youth in Elite Sports for Ghana Programme’’ for the next six months with 500 of the slots allocated to football.
This was made known during the official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. The MoU is between the Youth Employment Agency and the National Sports Authority (NSA) which is acting on behalf of all the benefiting Associations.
The unprecedented ceremony was witnessed by top government officials including YEA Board Chairman, Sammi Awuku, Chief Executive Officer of YEA, Justin Kodua Frimpong (Esq.), NSA Board Chairman, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer of NSA, Prof. Peter Twumasi, Special Advisor to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Magnus Rex Danquah, Ghana Football Association President, Kurt E.S. Okraku, Ghana Olympic Committee President, Ben Nunu Mensah among others.
Chief Executive Officer of the YEA, Justin Kodua singled out the effort of the GFA led by President Kurt E.S. Okraku in their quest to seek for support for football players before the YEA decided to rope-in other sporting disciplines.
‘’It was very refreshing and welcoming when the GFA President Kurt Okraku came to see the Agency that he needed support for the various football activities in the country. In fact, I must commend him and the GFA for bringing such a worthy proposal to the Agency for consideration.
‘’Upon meeting with him together with the Board Chairman of the agency, we deliberated on it and made further consultation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports whereby we decided to expand the proposal from the Ghana Football Association to include other disciples because we didn’t want to restrict ourselves to only football.
‘’We thought about it that the moment we attend to the GFA, Ghana Olympic Committee and others will come and demand that it must also apply to them. In the nutshell, we decided to meet the mother body, the National Sports Authority to have discussions and deliberations on how best the Agency can support our young men and women who have taken sports as their profession, lawyer Kodua stated.
President of the Ghana Football Association, Kurt E.S Okraku, who signed the MoU on behalf of the Association, delivered an emotion-filled appreciation to the Government of Ghana and YEA for considering football in the programme:
‘’I am overly elated and perhaps if I were not a strong man, I could shed tears. I am saying this because this has been a journey that started long ago, that was amplified in January and today through the leadership of Board Chairman Sammi Awuku, with the blessings from President Nana Akuffo-Addo, we have a game-changing announcement. This is a game-changer for football and especially for women football. We have 16 Premier League clubs in Ghana who play for free meanwhile for the larger Ghanaian populace, everybody believes they earn monies for which reason there is enormous pressure on these girls to always take care of their extended families.
‘’Today, through what I have always preached since I became the President of the GFA, that our industry and government must always have what I call an extensive relationship. There is nowhere in the world that football has become what it is for which reason we all run to consume without the express contribution of government towards the development of the sport. Today, this is a confirmation of what I have always preached. I thank the President for giving YEA the blessing to be able to reach out to many.
‘’We may think that GHS 500 is small but it’s a lot and it will be impacting on lives in the entire country. In a year that we have a pandemic that has affected the whole world, our ladies will survive because of this singular decision.
‘’Again, on behalf of the Ghana Football Association, we are very grateful and very much committed to this course and I believe there are even more and better days ahead of us. I assure that if all our girls survive this economic stress, they will be able to be competitive and represent Ghana in all international assignments.
‘’Chairman and CEO, kindly tell the President that we appreciate this gesture and we are going to make the best out of it,’’ Kurt Okraku added.
The Executive Council of the GFA unanimously decided and announced that all 500 slots allocated to football will go the 16 clubs that play in the women’s Elite division where each registered player from each club will receive 500 Ghana Cedis as a monthly stipend for the next six months.