The commencement of Division two, three and Juvenile football league season for the 2020/21 is in disguise and even dates back to about four years when the last one league was played.
3204 clubs are in Ghana (male and female) out of this number 3122 clubs which form the biggest block (97.44%) are in the grassroots with 689 division two, 917 division three, 1406 juvenile, and 110 female clubs. Again, this block is the most important as they provide insurance to the sustenance of Ghana Football for generations even yet unborn. However, this block is neglected in everything there is in football.
Recounting the absence of football brings tears to the faces of the stakeholders: club owners, bankrollers, administrators, technical and playing bodies. The effects have been unbearably enormous.
In a step to have this situation addressed and get this year’s league commenced, Mr. Daniel Ntim-Convener of the group, Mr. Elliot Aryitey, Mr. H.H. Adika, Mr. El-son Asiedu, Mr. Issah Mohammed Kumai, Mr. Leonard Ahounanchede and Mr. Abdulai Issifu led a group of about 40 clubs who prepared and signed a petition to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, The Ghana Football Association and the Regional Football Association-Greater Accra.
The team was well received at the ministry in a very brief meeting and took time to discuss the thematic areas in the petition, thus;
1. We request that the restriction on grassroots football be lifted and allowed to play with all Covid19 protocols dutifully observed.
Students of whom some are and of the same age brackets as our players are allowed to start schooling and nothing untoward has occurred. Per the drafted fixtures (Greater Accra: typical case) for the second division, the 2020/21 league season should commence by the end of April, 2021 without delay because it will be run for 31/32 match days and so the other lower divisions – male and female.
2. Government and Health Ministry in consultation with the GFA should provide clubs the up-to-date education if the need be through our Regional Football Associations. We are hopeful that this will fine-tune our covid19 protocol adherence and guide us through the entire season without any record or trace of the virus’s spread, though, we do not anticipate any.
3. As a constitutional mandate and pursuant to Act 934 (Sports Act 2016);
a. Section 3(a) provides ‘with the private sector and agencies, organize and support citizens to participate in sports at district, regional, national and international levels’: we kindly pray thee to start anytime soon and achieve in the near future this mandate the constitution places on government.
b. Section 3(e) provides ‘encourage citizens to participate in sporting activities:
i. With the Astroturf facilities provided by your government, it is time you encourage region and district Fas to put them to use as they provide us with fences that allow for Covid19 protocols to be adhered to.
ii. We plead with you for more community-based parks to be developed for recreational purposes and general sporting usage to cut down sports infrastructural deficit.”
The minister assured the petitioners of his utmost support and promised to raise the level of grassroots to a better stage. Mr Kofi Asare Brako also took the chance to congratulate the team and promised the minister every passing day until grassroots football attains a better recognition.
At the GFA, the General Secretary after reception took us through some of the steps taken and works that have gone in to bring the sport back. He hinted the launch of the juvenile league at end of April.
The RFA was last to receive their document and the Chairman, Mr Samuel Aboabire said the presentation is timely and reiterated their relentless efforts to getting the various started.
Summarizing the day’s event, Mr. Daniel Ntim (Convener) tagged the campaign as peaceful and result anticipatory. Briefing the press, he said he believes the recipients will work with the timelines provided (i.e. end of April) to avoid similar situation as the day’s perhaps bigger.
In all, about 40 clubs within Accra signed the document.