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Monday, 23 August 2010 14:30

Namibia/Ghana: Learning From the Black Stars

By Carlos Kambaekwa

ACCRA, Ghana, August 23, 2010 (New Era Sports) — Namibian football authorities could take a leaf out of Ghana's book if they are to take domestic football to the next level in all aspects of the beautiful game.


The recent success of Ghana on the playing field is a culmination of careful planning in tandem with the Ghanaian Football Association's (GFA) aggressive marketing and youth development strategies, while the association is also concerned with strategic decision-making.


GFA has embarked on a mission to be among the top-five football playing nations on the African continent and maintain a strong presence in global football at all levels of the beautiful game.


It also strives for a brighter future of real professionalism, built on the foundation of honest endeavour, self-sustenance and passion for excellence.

For the first time in the history of Ghanaian football, the association has appointed a deputy secretary-general to take charge of marketing and sponsorship and to liaise with the office of the President, the business and sponsorship committee and other sponsors of the association.


Additional functions of the incumbent include direct interaction with existing and potential sponsors of the GFA, assisting in resolving grievances emanating from ambush marketing and other related matters.


In an exclusive interview with New Era Sports, GFA Deputy Secretary-General for Marketing and Sponsorship, Isaac Addo, said the vision was buttressed with a 4-year development plan, aimed at actualizing the dream and aspirations of the mission statement.


"The Emergency Committee makes the final decision on marketing matters in consultation with all the relevant personalities and subsequently reports to the Congress of the GFA.

"The involvement of the President is to provide the necessary weight and backing, as well as the association's unflinching support to all sponsors at all times," detailed the articulate Addo.


GFA enjoys a monopoly over its marketing activities because of the uniqueness of the product and by virtue of its legal authority as the only body in Ghana charged with the responsibility to develop, promote, control and regulate the sport of organized football in all its forms in accordance with the laws of the game, among other equally important duties as enshrined in the FIFA statutes.


"Like every monopolistic business, our football association does not undergo any price pressure from any competitor, even though it often experiences pressures from its affiliates and stakeholders in relation to the pricing of its pro-duct bundling."


Since January 2006, the football association has exploited this special opportunity for the betterment of the GFA to the extent that it has been able to attract a considerable number of local and international sponsors, who until years before the tenure of the current administration would not have wanted to be associated with any football activities in the West African country.


After a thorough SWOT analysis aimed at determining what the strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats were: "The administration adopted the football association like a business entity and resolved to apply prudent strategies that any business-minded persons would do to raise the image of their business socially, corporately and financially."


The Ghana Football Association repackaged benefits that had been left dormant in the past for sale to prospective sponsors. The strategy was to make these benefits more business-friendly than had ever been the case before.


"We aligned with a television station that would make it possible to broadcast the domestic league and national team's matches exclusively. This made it possible for us to coordinate any benefits to our clients and sponsors."


As it stands, the Black Stars are by far the most attractive sports commodity in Ghana.

Through these prudent and well-coordinated efforts of the marketing strategy, the association has been able to raise U$30-million from companies operating in Ghana and from a few foreign organizations for the various leagues and national teams.


Position of Youth and Women's Football in the GFA Marketing Scheme


GFA has targeted a number of diplomatic missions and financial institutions for sponsorship collaborations for the development of youth and women's football at grassroots level, as well as a training collaboration with clubs abroad for attachments in administration, refereeing, coaching, sports medicine and other related issues at all levels of the game.

"We have resolved to resuscitate the annual Juvenile Championships by sourcing funding from these organizations to make this dream a reality."


The Ghanaian Football Association's total annual budget is slightly over N$100 million with government among the major sponsors. Unlike the Namibia Football Association (NFA), which is solely controlled by its secretary general, GFA has a secretary-general with three deputies heading different departments under his wing.


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