Owner of Dreams FC, Edwin Kurt Okraku, was yesterday elected the Ghana Football Association (GFA) president after a tense, suspense-filled run to upstage five other candidates in a captivating Elective Congress at the College of Physicians and Surgeons auditorium, in Accra.
Okraku was elected for a four-year term in office, taking over from Kwesi Nyantakyi.
However, the new GFA boss rode to victory the hard way after the marathon elections glided into the third round, following the failure of candidates to garner the 50-plus-one per cent needed for victory.
Okraku, who tagged his manifesto as the ‘GameChanger’ had polled 44 votes in the opening round – gorgeously beating the frontrunner George Afriyie, who recorded 40. Another favourite, Fred Pappoe, only managed six (6) and Nana Yaw Amponsah (27), whilst Amanda Clinton and George Ankamah got zero votes and were ‘evicted’ from the enthrallingly dramatic process.
Before the second round got underway, Mr Pappoe ‘honourably’ announced his withdrawal to a rather thunderous applause from the packed auditorium – leaving the only three imposing horses – Okraku, Afriyie and Amponsah to battle it out.
Once again, the second round expectedly produced no winner with Okraku impressively amassing 59 – representing 50 per cent – (14 more than his previous votes), while Afriyie got 43 – increasing his votes only by three. Amponsah may have been surprised when he polled 16 – with his votes heavily reducing by 11. One more vote in favour of Okraku would have given him the nod.
At this juncture, a final third round was ushered in without Amponsah; but moments after the process had roared off, Mr Afriyie sportsmanly threw in the towel. It was expected!
“Football is one big family; there are no winners and losers.
“I’m a unifier and team player and in the interest of football, I congratulate Kurt Okraku as the winner,” he said, having earlier hugged the victor.
Interestingly, voting still continued amid protests from delegates as the Electoral Commissioner quoted the laws to back the decision. At the end of it all, Mr Okraku polled 93 per cent – more than the required votes for presidency, and was subsequently pronounced winner and sworn in by Justice Anim Yeboah.
Okraku was elected for a four-year term in office, taking over from Kwesi Nyantakyi – who was in charge for 13 years.
In his victory speech, the newly-elected FA president expressed his appreciation to delegates, promising to work hard to repay the confidence reposed in him.
He paid glowing tributes to all the candidates, and said he was humbled for the opportunity to serve Ghana football.
“There’s no Kurt winner; the winning team is Ghana football,” Mr Okraku stressed, adding that “it’s time for us to forgo any hard feelings, work hard and rebuild Ghana football.”
Upshot of yesterday’s polls also brought an end to the work of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC) headed by business mogul Dr Kofi Amoah – who temporarily assumed leadership of the GFA for 16 months.
One hundred and eighteen delegates (later increasing to 119) determined the destiny of the candidates.
There were displays of spontaneous exhilaration moments after the results were declared. Many of Okraku’s supporters were seen joyously twirling, singing, clapping and hopping before joining other celebrants outside the auditorium for an ecstatic group hug.
Whilst the celebrations were ongoing, the other losing candidates – Pappoe, Amanda, Nana Yaw and George Ankomah Mensah, were seen shaking hands with their sympathisers – who may have wished them “better luck, next time.”
Ghana football was thrown into turmoil owing to the ‘Number 12’ exposé by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas on June 6, 2018, that fatally affected dozens of bigwigs in the game.
Indeed, the exposé shook the GFA administrative structure to the core – causing the longest-serving president of the association, Nyantakyi, to resign a year before his third term in office was due to expire.
Domestic football was grounded to a halt, consequently.
Ahead of yesterday’s elections, an Extra-Ordinary Congress organised by the NC on September 5, 2019 in Accra, adopted new statutes, setting off football’s taxing journey back into the hands of ‘Football People.’
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Publish date : 2019-10-28 09:33:21