Early in May, we had the opportunity to speak with Cleopatra Nsiah Nketiah regarding the role she feels the Ghana Football Association (GFA) should play towards the development of the Women’s game.
Since 2006, the GFA has done its part to develop a recognized National Women’s league. However, this has been crippled with issues of inadequate financial support, infrastructure deficiency, personnel deficiency, amateur mentality, insufficient attention from the GFA as well as stigmatization and discrimination.
The challenges presented are worse in the lower leagues as highlighted by Co-Owner of Ridge City Football Club Women (RCFCW), Cleo Nsiah Nketiah Esq. As a Division 1 side, the only benefit afforded them is that they have been able to secure players on amateur basis. This means they cater to some but not all needs of their duly registered players. The issue of infrastructure deficiency has forced RCFCW to resort to training on a community made football pitch in East Legon near some High-Tension Masts. The club had to bear the cost to maintain this football pitch that is already in an appalling state prior to the suspension of all sporting activities. The club is unable to generate revenue through match day ticketing or commercial avenues as there is no enabling environment. The club is being funded by benevolent funders and its Co-Owners. The great thing about this club however is their ability to encourage volunteering. They have volunteers in their physio, coaching, welfare, equipment and digital marketing teams. This offers the management some solace as the already high expenditure on team operations is cushioned by these volunteers.
Cleo indicated the Greater Accra Regional Football Association (GARFA) and GFA by extension has really been poor in supporting the clubs in the Women’s Football Hierarchy. There has been no monetary support whatsoever to help the clubs in Division 1 become attractive or competitive. The Women’s National Football team (Black Queens) were the first to the World Cup party in 1999. That feat should have been the catalyst for further investment in the women’s game. Yet, the GFA has focused heavily on their men counterparts. They may have given us some fond memories but that’s not enough if the nation wants to develop the game wholly.
Additionally, there is unsatisfactory support in terms of equipment from the GARFA and GFA. There is a culture of promise-and-fail and moving on, as if nothing happened. That’s a practice we still cannot move past. Not all the clubs may need the financial support but the GFA showing commitment and staying true to your promise goes a long way in enhancing their image
There is a worrying level of stigmatization and discrimination in the women’s game. This hinders the growth of the game in many ways. Football is meant to grow participation by increasing the number of girls and women playing football. The game is to be as inclusive as possible. No matter your race, colour, sexual orientation or ability, you deserve to play the game.
The game holds so much potential if invested appropriately and sufficiently into. In 2019, the coverage and financial impact of the FIFA Women’s World Cup only goes to show the future is in Women’s Football. The social impact of the Women’s game cannot be ignored either as the Women’s game is as inclusive as it gets. Ghana will be the ultimate benefactor should we give Women’s Football the attention it needs.
Article: YF Koduah-Sarpong; @fr3mpy on twitter