From a football crazy nation, to the success of the Ghanaian senior football team, the Black Stars, being one of the very few teams to win the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on four occasions, to strong heaving youth football structures – Ghana’s football is a complete success story.
But it’s no coincidence says Samuel Kwasi Fabin, coach of Ghana’s U/17 team that won the recent bi-annual Four Nations Tournament. He revealed that the country’s success in African football has come of age and structures are already in place to steer it further to greater heights.
Ghana are four-time Afcon champions, having won the 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982 editions, while they have also finished as Afcon runners-up on five occasions during the 1968, 1970, 1992, 2010, and 2015 editions of the continental football showpiece.
Speaking to New Era Sport on the sidelines of the Four Nations Tournament in Walvis Bay over the Easter weekend, Fabin said Ghana’s accomplishments are not an overnight success story, but a result of hard work over the years and massive investments in football youth structures.
“But we are really not doing anything special that other African countries are not doing, but perhaps in the case of Namibia maybe the only difference would be that we have a much larger pool of players to choose from. But the population size of the countries are not the contributing factor – the real contributor to Ghana’s success at all levels of football is consistent and timely investments in schools sport development structures,” said Fabin.
“Back at home, we have fully fledged school football leagues that are played throughout the year. The programmes run hand in hand with the players’ academic affairs, as we try to balance football as a potential career and school studies as a lasting solution for any person. So my advice to other African countries is to seriously invest more and prioritise football development at school level because that’s where it all starts.”
The football academy system by various clubs in Ghana has equally gained massive ground over the years as the sure way of honing and developing talents of upcoming footballers in the country.
According to Fabin, during school breaks all national team coaches host a massive training camp where all the players that were identified during the course of the school leagues are called up and further developed.
“During the school breaks when we have all the players that we chose in the various age categories of the schools league, we put special emphasis on developing those raw talents and getting those young footballers abreast with the modern trends in the game. We also have periodic training tours where our teams compete against other countries, just like how we came to Namibia this year for the Four Nations Tournament.”
“So let’s just invest more in schools sport development programmes. We should not just invest, but also make sure that the programmes are effective and are constantly monitored to ensure they remain intact with the changing trends,” said Fabin.