30 July 2017

FEATURE: Break in GPL totally unacceptable


Buzzing. Mouth-Watering clashes. Relegation blues. Potential photo finish atop the league log. Several teams unsure of their Premiership status next season. Fans on the edge. Potential games of convenience. Huge Focus on match officials ahead of games.

The Ghana Premier League was clearly on the lips and fingers of many a journo and fans alike. Who on earth would want to do away with all the positives that these extremely good noises comes with?

The sales team of any company whose brand is making such waves would be going gaga with excitement knowing very well that there is a huge chance targets could be met during such a pleasant period in the lives in their product.

They would be terribly upset if top management against all odds decides to pull the breaks on the brand. I am sure you get my drift by now.

The Ghana Premier League has been subject to several challenges and difficulties over the years culminating in several brands either withdrawing from deals or literally ignoring the marketing potential of the brand. First Capital Bank easily comes to mind.

There was a lot of pomp and pageantry when a massive $10million deal was announced a couple of years ago. Fast forward and we all do know what happened to that deal. I have had the opportunity to speak to a plethora of marketing bosses over the years and they do not mince words when they are approached. “The GPL is a huge brand being poorly caressed, one told me. You just can’t plan for it with any activations as there does not seem to be a start date or end date. Now that is very worrying.

An argument by the Premier League Board has to do with CHAN and the preparations towards the game against Burkina Faso and that the GPL Brand was weakened by the failure of the team to qualify for the last edition in Rwanda.

I find this very strange if not untenable. Everyone in this country knows why we failed to get a result against the Ivorians in the final qualifier two years ago. How the man in charge (Maxwell Konadu) was asked to accompany the Black Stars A for a friendly international in North America at the expense of that qualifier remains ludicrous at best.

Who says qualification to a CHAN or otherwise has any bearing on the marketability of the league? The Egyptians, Algerians and Moroccans have barely flinched at the CHAN. It definitely does not make their league loose a bite like we are being made to understand. A poor decision cost the nation qualification in 2014. Period.

Again, most of the clubs in the Ghana Premier League continue to make loud ‘noises’ about how financially challenged they are. Bar a few of them who make some decent revenue from gate proceeds and the transfer of players, revenue is a massive worry.

I do not know where they intend to find the funds to take care of wages and all during the period of inactivity. With all the uncertainty surrounding virtually every position on the log, attendances were surely going to be on the high which was going to replicate into an increase in revenue from the gates. I will personally haul any club official and dump them into the ocean for good if they complain of financial challenges during this period. I pity those who allegedly pay players GHC 50.00 a month.

I got a call from a friend a few days ago around 11pm. His problem? He wanted to know when a pre-season friendly between two of the big European giants was going to be played. Now this is just a pre-season friendly without any serious implications on the clubs.

A huge number of the football base in the country have been wooed over by European football in the last two decades. My six year old nephew can roll out the names of the players of these clubs with such ease but would need God knows how long a time to roll out even two players of some clubs in the GPL.

The major leagues kick off in just over two weeks and the craze with the build-up alone is something else. Competing with them for eyeballs is a complete non-starter. We have the time now to rake in the numbers and we have chosen to cede that to the European loving football fanatics. The GPL returns on August 26 when the all the top 5 leagues in Europe would have kicked off. You know what that means.

The WAFU argument just killed me. At what point did the decision makers find it that important to incorporate it into the Ghanaian calender? Did we not know this from the beginning of the year? Sheikh Tamimu Issah, PLB spokesperson is doing his job by defending this, arguing that at some point even in the corporate world, some allowance may be given to accommodate certain decisions. Good talk but not this one brother.

Does the league need to go on break to help with their preparations and how on earth does it benefit us with pittance of financial motivation? The tournament will be held at the Sekondi Stadium and the Cape Coast Stadium from 9th September to 24 September 2017. How does a break in the league in July in anyway improve the nation’s fortunes in a tournament which commences in six weeks’ time?

I am glad the Kotoko bit has been nipped in the bud as the PLB received correspondence to the effect that the team would be ready to play by August 6. It is in the interest of the team that they make a return to the pitch at some point to be honest.

Truth is that despite the obvious challenges, the club cannot be seen to be keeping everyone waiting. Life has to go on as the longer the club stays away from the pitch the more difficult it might be for the players to wrap their heads around a return to action.

I respect the decision of PLB but I completely disagree with the break as a matter of principle.

By: Kwame Dwomoh-Agyemang


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