‘We are ready to listen to all stakeholders’ – Kurt Okraku

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) is ready to listen to all stakeholders as it takes pragmatic steps to halt the dwindling performance of the Black Stars, Mr. Kurt Okraku, President of the GFA, has assured.

‘All our stakeholders must stand shoulder to shoulder with us. In good times and in bad times we are ready to listen to all stakeholders,’ he said at a press briefing in Kumasi.

Flanked by members of the Executive Committee, Mr. Okraku said, ‘We have reflected a lot since our last AFCON game against Mozambique, which had led to several far-reaching decisions. ‘

According to the GFA President, it had been a reflective period, adding that the FA had to be decisive in taking decisions that would positively impact football in Ghana.

‘We want to see the Black Stars and all our national teams play good football and win games including all local clubs,’ he further stated.

The process to achieve that goal, he indicated, included engagements with stakeholders to get the needed feedback to be able to rollout
the ideas and strategies to bring back the love for the national teams.

Mr. Okraku said investing from the basic to the top level of the game was the way to go and that his administration would not shy away from that reality.

Touching on the development of the local league, the GFA President said with the right investments, the league would grow and players would stay in the domestic leagues.

‘We have sent proposals to government so our players can stay longer and fight for a place in the nation team. It is our belief that the government would support our call and push for a paradigm shift,’ he noted.

On the perception that the FA is anti-media, the President debunked the notion, saying that no Executive Committee had had more journalists than the current one.

‘This GFA administration is media friendly and our door is always open to engage the media but we have to ensure that we are within the confines of the rules,’ he pointed out.

Source: Ghana News Agency

‘Repeat or Revenge’ as South Africa takes on Nigeria on Wednesday

The semi-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), will take off on Wednesday, February 7, with host nation Cote D’ Ivoire, Nigeria, South Africa, and DR Congo going into battle for the ultimate prize.

Bafana Bafana face old-time foes, Nigeria, in the first semifinal on Wednesday, February, in what appears to be a repeat 2000 semifinal, that saw the Super Eagles overcome the 1996 champions 2-0 in Lagos.

The rivalry between the two sides would be renewed in Cote d’Ivoire as Nigeria chases their fourth title, while South Africa looks ahead to what has been an elusive second.

Following the 2000 semifinal defeat, the Super Eagles edged Bafana Bafana in the quarterfinals in the 2019 edition in Egypt with a narrow 2-1 win.

The two sides have met 14 times, with the Super Eagles enjoying a lion’s share of the results with seven victories against two for South Africa, with the remaining five ending in stalemates.

This would be another entry for the rich history books of African football, with Bafana Bafan
a now under the guidance of two former African champions against a star-studded Super Eagles side.

Hugo Broos, who guided the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to victory five years ago seem to have the needed technical acumen to overcome the eagles having demonstrated in previous matches ahead of the semi-final clash.

Assisted by the Helman Mkhalele, a key member of the 1996 golden generation that lifted South Africa’s first and only African title, the South Africans are poised to change the tide against them this time around.

It looks like an uphill battle containing an explosive Super Eagles side led by the dangerous Victor Osimhen and the red-hot Ademola Lookman, and the West Africans seem to be the hot favourites, whilst the South Africans would take up the role of under-dogs at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake on Wednesday is at 17:00.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sports Minister frowns on using stadiums for social events

Mr. Mustapha Ussif, the Minister of Youth and Sports, says he has engaged the National Sports Authority (NSA) in stopping the use of the national stadiums for social events.

There was serious agitations by some football fans following the closure of the Accra Sports Stadium for footballing activities by the NSA last December.

Mr. Mustapha Ussif, appearing before the Public Accounts Committee on Monday, stated categorically that he didn’t order the closure of the stadium for social events to be allowed to take place.

‘The main purpose of our sporting facilities is for us to use those facilities to develop talent and also for competitions, whether national or international.

‘I did not authorise the closure of the sports stadium. I am aware the stadium was closed and my major concern was the pitch.

‘Even though the NSA by law is the authority having the powers to manage all the sporting facilities for us and to ensure they are in good shape, once we have a major tournament coming; the Africa Games and we ha
ve also the Premiership ongoing, my major concern is how much we are getting from these social events that we are giving out these facilities to,’ he said.

The Minister was concerned that the money received from these social events might not be enough to better maintain the facility.

‘It’s something that I have engaged the Director General on that, going forward, this should not be done because, at the end of the day whatever you get from these social events might not be able to maintain the pitch,’ he noted.

Source: Ghana News Agency

LOCAccra 2023 LOC calls on Ga Mantse

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2023 Africa Games on Monday called on the Ga Mantse, His Royal Majesty King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II.

The visit was to commiserate with him over the death of his father the late Dr. Ebenezer Tackie and also brief him on preparations made so far for the 2023 Africa Games.

Dr. Kwaku Ofosu Asare Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the LOC on behalf of the team expressed condolences to the Ga King for the loss of his father.

He noted that, all the facilities for the hosting of the African Games were ready and that Ghana would be ready to host the rest of the continent between March 8-23, 2023.

According to Dr. Ofosu Asare, Ghana now had modern athletics tracks at the University of Ghana Stadium, Aquatic Center at the Borteyman Sports Complex, tennis courts, among many other sporting facilities.

He said the new facilities puts Ghana in the right position to host other international sporting event after the African Games.

Dr. Ofosu Asare announced that, plans were in plac
e to for the launching of the 30-days before the games and the Ga Mantse would be invited to grace the occasion.

His Royal Majesty King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II commended the LOC for putting in place the needed facilities for the hosting of the games in Accra.

He said the various sporting facilities spread across the capital would reduce social vices among the youth as they would be kept busy by engaging in sporting activities.

His Royal Majesty noted that, he had initiated talks with some international outfits his team was excited to be build a modern sports complex in Accra.

He assured the LOC of his support for the hosting of the games and urged them to ensure that, international athletes and officials were brought to his palace for blessings.

The 2023 African Games would officially commence on March 18, and end on March 23, 2024, with the opening ceremony fixed for the University of Ghana Sports Stadium.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Mohammed Polo exposes loopholes in current football system

Ghanaian football legend Mohammed Polo says the lack of identity in the current football structure has halted Ghana’s progress, which has led to its poor performance at recent major tournaments.

According to the former Hearts coach, it would be very vital for football administrators to learn how things were done in the past to help Ghana reclaim its stature as an African football heavyweight.

Mohammed Polo, in an interview with GNA Sports, noted that the recent poor display of the Black Stars at the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), was a testament to the weak local league system.

He noted that the reliance on foreign coaches to help in the formulation of a football identity was not the ideal way, stressing?that there were equally good local coaches who could lead the transformation agenda.

‘Getting a vivid football identity that runs through our local league and juvenile system would be key to changing our dwindling fortunes,’ Polo said.

He indicated that ‘The core of building our very solid nation
al team would depend on getting strong local players who understand our system and getting a few foreign players to add up, like the South Africans are doing.

‘The league system forms the basis of how we develop our football, and we need an experienced coach to identify players who fit the system.’ he told GNA Sports.

Polo recalled that the likes of the late Sam Arday have used this approach in the past, which yielded results, emphasising that revisiting such measures would be key to revitalising Ghana football.

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When asked about the Ghana Football Association’s plans to appoint a new coach after the dismissal of Chris Hughton, Polo asserted that there was no need to rush the process of appointing a coach.

‘We are in a crisis, and it has to be given sometime for us to get the right person for the job, but in the interim, we can get a stop-gap coach to handle our coming matches.

‘We need a broader stakeholder consultation where we meet and discuss the kind of coach we would want for the Black Stars in t
he long term. We have wasted time and money with the appointment of foreign coaches, and that shouldn’t be the way,’ he said.

‘It is not that we, the local coaches, can’t do the job, but it is like we don’t believe in ourselves,’ Polo stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency

FIFA unveils match schedules for 2026 World Cup

Football’s governing body, FIFA, has revealed that the 2026 World Cup final will be held in New York, New Jersey, while Mexico City will host the historic opening match.

The 2026 World Cup, to be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the USA from Thursday, June 11, 2026, to Sunday, July 19, 2026, would witness 48 teams vie for the coveted World Cup trophy.

Each of the three host countries would play their three group-stage matches on home soil, with Canada kicking off their campaign in Toronto on Friday, June 12, 2026.

The United States would begin their journey on the same day in Los Angeles, while Mexico will play at the iconic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Thursday, June 11, 2026.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: ‘The most inclusive and impactful FIFA World Cup ever is no longer a dream but a reality that will take shape in the form of 104 matches in 16 state-of-the-art stadiums across Canada, Mexico, and the USA. From the opening match at the iconic Estadio Azteca to the spectacular final in New Y
ork, New Jersey players and fans have been at the core of our extensive planning for this game-changing tournament’.

‘I would like to thank our three host countries and 16 Host Cities for the unwavering commitment to staging a FIFA World Cup that will not only set new records but also leave an indelible legacy.’

FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani said: ‘The FIFA World Cup 26 will be a watershed moment and one that will trigger massive football development in our region and worldwide. While each Host City is unique, they all have something in common – they are passionate about football and cannot wait to welcome the world in June and July 2026.’

According to FIFA, the tournament’s innovative match schedule would minimise travel for teams and fans alike, while the number of rest days between fixtures will be maximised.

Match pairings and kick-off times would be confirmed following the Final Draw for FIFA World Cup 26, which is expected to take place towards the end of 2025.

Sour
ce: Ghana News Agency

Coach Akwesi Appiah donates to Awudu Issaka Football Academy

James Akwesi Appiah former Black Stars Coach has donated two sets of jerseys, and 20 footballs to the Awudu Issaka Football Academy.

The items also included 20 cartons of Ekumfi Fruit Juice and an undisclosed amount of money.

Awudu Issaka Football Academy is a talent development center established by the former national star who shot to fame with his amazing skills at the 1995 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Ecuador.

The academy identifies and develop talents from the ages of 10 to 21.

The donation is to support the training and development of players and the academy.

Coach Akwesi Appiah commended the former national star for establishing the academy and contributing to national development.

He said after a close observation, he noticed that members of the academy have acquired basics in football.

‘I took a keen look at the members of the senior side of the academy, and it was obvious they have been trained by a former player who understands the dynamics of the game.

‘I am amazed at the kind training bein
g given to the young ones here. This is how to develop players and I think Awudu should be supported to do more for the nation,’ he added.

According to Coach Appiah he has been supporting some academies around the country, adding that it was an initiative supported by Ghana National Gas Company Limited.

Awudu Issak expressed appreciation to the former Black Stars Coach for supporting his outfit.

He said Coach Appiah has since the start of the academy provided financial support to them and was grateful.

‘Coach Appiah has been providing us with financial support on regular basis. He has been one of the pillars of the academy,’ he noted.

The Awudu Issaka Football Academy has over 100 players from ages 10 to 21, and has since contributed a lot of players various clubs within and outside the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency