FEATURE: Manage Qatar 2022 campaign well

Published on: 06 April 2022

3Sports Editor, Juliet Bawuah’s chat with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kurt Okraku in Qatar, and in which the FA Boss says he needs to be careful when talking these days fascinates me. That remark is important.

It’s either the GFA President realises that some of his utterances come out wrongly or he's not reported correctly. His decision is good. The carefulness he wants to show in speech must also be seen in managing our Qatar 2022 campaign.

In the said interview, amongst other decisions to be taken to ensure we excel in Qatar, Kurt discloses that the team would be reinforced with new players. That’s vital and so certain to happen. Selection must be on merit.

Whether or not Otto Addo and the technical team stays is to be determined by the GFA. Already, there’s considerable support for them. That provides the GFA comfort to then ascertain how best to have them on, how long they’ll work because it’s not just the World Cup but also 2023 AFCON qualifiers and the tournament itself.

These are things to think about deeply in managing the Black Stars and the World Cup campaign. If fans were upset with the team and authorities after Brazil 2014, it wasn’t because the Black Stars exited at the group of that World Cup. It’s trite knowledge that fans’ anger was out of the unconscionable monetisation of the team.

No one is against paying players what’s due them but then that must be done in a way that doesn’t insult the intelligence or sensibilities of the public. The GFA’s public relations (PR) machinery should be well-oiled with clever, fan-centred communication that engenders confidence not just in the association but also in the team, drawing support and building strong interest in the Black Stars.

This isn’t our maiden World Cup. We're no novices in the football business. We should consequently handle supporters’ organisation (that’s if fans would be sent to Qatar) by government especially. From competitions to competitions, the last one being 2019 AFCON, experience has shown that when sommething goes terribly wrong with organising fans, it creates needless disaffection.

The GFA may not emplane supporters to Qatar but it should be interested in how government steers that drive and wherever possible, isolate the team from any confusion. Three times we’ve been to this august football event. Our fourth show shouldn’t be handled as if we’re clueless football people. The Black Stars is the biggest entity used in rallying national cohesion in a sharply politically divided country like ours.

Let government and managers of the team, in consequence, watch carefully what they do with the team before and during the World Cup. Let all who’ll be assigned whatever task execute it to build trust in the system and not destroy it.

Source: Jerome Otchere