Ex-Hearts of Oak star Amankwah Mireku implore gov't to invest in youth football

Published on: 18 July 2019

Former Hearts of Oak skipper, Yaw Amankwah Mireku, has called the government and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to channel part of the huge expenditure on the Black Stars into youth development.

The 45-year-old who played for the Black Stars between 2001-2005, asserted that even though some insignificant effort had been made, the ministry and the GFA have long sacrificed development of young talents for the Black Stars.

In an interview with Graphic Online, the former Hearts of Oak star said he believed it was about time government and the FA started to treat youth development with the seriousness and urgency it requires to help grow Ghana Football.

"Some efforts have been made in our youth development, just that we haven't done enough. We still have a long way to go considering the many young talents and potential footballers we have in the country.

"What they [the ministry and GFA] should do is to consider reviewing the amount of money they spend on the Black Stars and channel some of the money into youth development," he said.

According to the former Hearts of Oak captain, lack of a long-term plan on the part of the ministry and the GFA was a major hindrance on the nation's youth development.

"It all depends on how we plan. There should be a long-term plan on how we want to manage football in the country, and youth development should be key. But we lack such a plan.

"If we had one, we probably wouldn't be talking about youth development now," he added.

Mireku, who started his career with Okwahu United and later joined Hearts, expressed disappointment in his former club and other Ghanaian clubs for losing focus in their youth development as well.

"We can't blame only the ministry and the GFA. What are the clubs doing too. In those days, youth development was very important to clubs like Hearts and Kotoko.

“Players like Jojo Bossman, Eric Nyarko and Ishmael Addo were all promoted from the youth side. But they are not doing that now. Even if they do, the quality has reduced," he noted.

The Hearts legend, who featured from 1997 to 2007, also lashed at the youth for lacking discipline and commitment.

"Even the young people themselves are not helping themselves. They have the talent alright but they lack discipline and commitment to the game, Mireku said.

“During our time, the desire to play was there; we worked hard and followed instructions," he concluded.