Kurt Okraku, a businessman and football administrator, was elected to be the new leader of the Ghana Football Association last Friday.
A day later, he spoke to Joy FM’s news analysis program, News File, in his first radio interview after the election.
Here’s the transcript of the conversation with Samson Anyenini.
How are you going to take advantage of the overwhelming support from the football fraternity?
Okraku: I think that the happenings of [Friday] clearly gives all of us the momentum to ensure that we bring everybody concerning or connected to our industry together, and to ensure that we take our game to the level that it deserves.
In saying this, let me be grateful and thankful to the president of the land, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, the sector minister, honorable [Isaac] Asiamah, members of the Football Association, the outgoing NC’s president and the membership, all clubs and stakeholders who were part of this amazing process.
[On Friday], I made a clarion call to all of us that football is a team sport. No single individual can navigate and take us to the promised land. That is why I put a team together to do the campaign. That is why I encourage everybody to come out with a manifesto via our manifesto launch. That is why I went out of my way to say kudos to George Afriyie, Amanda Clinton, George Ankomah, Nana Yaw Amponsah, Fred Pappoe and my own brother [Wilfred] Osei [Kwaku] ‘Palmer’.
We need everybody on board. We all have quality and I absolutely believe there is quality here in the Ghana football industry for which we have to come together, to harness the qualities that we all hold and make sure that we lay a solid foundation for a big takeoff.
We have promised to ignite passion and to create wealth for everybody and through that, we want to ensure that the fundamentals are right and this is what we have promised and this is what we intend to deliver.
How he is going to break the tradition that has brought Ghana Football down, that is, bringing in people of expertise instead of loyalists?
Well, I think that by and large, I have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that I believe in quality and so does the president of the land. I believe in bringing different qualities from opinion positions together, to be able to build. And as a basis, I have shown that with my Dreams FC project. I also showed that with the MTN FA Cup, but this journey is totally different from what we are talking about anyway.
I am a team player. I believe in harnessing the intellectual talents we have in this country and to ensure that we are able to build an industry that will be an envy for not only Ghana but beyond the shores of the country.
Let me ask you about my colleague, Gary Al-Smith’s 10 things [he suggested that] you do immediately after winning the presidential seat. [Samson lists the 10 pointers, which you can see here].
Well, I think that listening to you confirms or tells me what we have always believed that there is a lot of work to be done. Most of the points or the challenging points that you raised are clearly found in [my] manifesto that we rolled out in the last few weeks so it tells you that we have been engaging the right people and clearly with the support of the other members of the Executive Council I say that we have a lot quality.
We have people with the right knowledge or capacity to help me to navigate this journey. I think that we are ready to deliver. Again, we want to deliver on our promise. We will produce an industry that will be the envy of many. The journey begins today.
We are going to engage ourselves to ensure that we have a smooth take-off. Ghana football will rise again. That is a promise.
How long it will take Ghana football to climb back to the status that we were in the international football arena?
Well, I think that it depends on how we are going to start. We need to start on the right foot. We have four years to execute our manifesto and to ensure that the game comes back alive again. The next two weeks will define how we are going to navigate to the promised land.
I have said on numerous platforms that when the fundamentals are weak, that will expose you and we want to ensure that the fundamentals are strong or become strong and in the next few days, we will clearly engage ourselves, meet and take the right and appropriate strategies.
What’s the first thing you will do when you get to [your new GFA] office?
I will say good morning to everybody. We are assured that we are in to deliver. We have a promise to deliver and that promise will be delivered with their support.