Football in Ghana is one of the sports disciplines that have brought laurels to Ghana and made the country had its global name. It has the highest number of participants that spread across the national colts league, the various divisions and the Ghana premier league as a whole. The basics of football development begin from the Early Childhood, Primary and Junior High Schools, Senior High Schools and continues all the way to the tertiary level.
Talents are developed and scouts recruit these young footballers during their inter schools, circuits, districts and regional competitions, into their various academies, universities and teams.
Over the years the standard of combining education with football is not anything to write home about as many local footballers have rejected education and have put all their energies into football. It is not really the fault of theirs but the system in Ghana makes the whole experience difficult to achieve this course. Most teams in Ghana, across the various divisions and Premier league have their training sessions in the morning, which conflict with classroom work and this makes it difficult as a footballer to move in line with these plan of combining it with education.
Most coaches and club owners will not really accept a plan like that as they will not give players certain preferences to skip training days for school. The player takes a risk as he is either off loaded at the end of the season or he will will have to report write a trailed paper at the end of the semester.
A few local based footballers in Ghana broke this barrier as they put in all their their efforts, combining education and football,to graduate in the various tertiary institutions in the country to get Diploma, HND and Degrees as well. They are Hafiz Wontah Konkoni, Bright Luqman Nurudeen, Thomas Arnold Abbey, Francis Adjetey Okunko, Amos Frimpong, Dennis Kwodwo Korsah, Ebenezer Opoku, Abdul Aziz Suleiman, Joseph Tetteh Zutah among others.
After the Anas expose on 6th June, 2018, 84000 local based footballers were affected, as an injunction was placed by the Attorney General on the league. Though FIFA in consultation with the Government of Ghana has set up a normalization committee to help restructure football again in the country, there is no sign of hope to the local based player who cannot give the exact date the league will resume. Majority of them have not been paid salaries since the game went on hibernation, likewise signing on fees been owed by the clubs. It now a routine as you read publications of mass exodus of talented local based footballers, taking the risk to seek greener pastures in the Gulf, Asia and other African countries. Those left waiting for the Ghana Football Association to be restructured are stranded, worried and frustrated as they train, not knowing what they are training for.
Building mansions, traveling around the world, wearing the latest outfits, driving in luxurious cars, donating to Alma matters and the society as charity, reach out programs etc are some characteristics of lifestyles of foreign-based players when they are home for holidays. These motivates the local based players to be challenged to work hard, since they know they will achieve the same fate if put up that same behaviour. With football career short, it is important footballers will have a plan B as they are active with their careers now. Most of them have made paradigm shifts into careers as they are investing into other areas of development which will serve as income to them when they retire.
Footballers are seen as role models but mostly enter into coaching when they retire in Ghana. With sports courses springing up in the traditional universities and private ones, it is important that local footballers will have a good circumspection about their future as they take decisions in relation to what they can give back to their community as sports physicians, nutritionists, physiotherapists and lecturers etc. In countries like Oman, Bahrain, Iceland, Finland etc, professional footballers have occupations aside football, which give them excess money aside from what they receive as salaries. This feat was achieved because they took the risk to study, were disciplined with time management,trained hard, were focused, had a dream and achieved it.
Football is good but Education is priceless.