Except for a few lines of superfluity in two of the three-page document, the language and tone of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) President Kurt Okraku’s New Year message were acceptable. 

I’m no speech writing expert, but whoever wrote Kurt’s New Year speech, next time, should stick to one of these two phrases – “once more or again” – and not use both as done in page 1, paragraph 2 and page 2 paragraph 4. Public speeches of the GFA President are important and attention ought to be paid to what he says and how that’s couched.   

That said, I like how the GFA President seizes the opportunity to address its constituents on notable occasions. He makes use of any available chance to reach out to the public in an apparent attempt to remind us that the GFA is a thriving organisation. 

In 2023, we can expect Kurt’s Public Relations machinery to be oiled to deliver more messages on public holidays, festive moments and the likes. Where possible, there would be reviews of such messages for the public good. So, aside from the tone and language being fine, Kurt's New Year message highlighted only his 2022 positives. 

For a certified public relations professional, it’s understood why anything considered undesirable didn’t find space in Kurt’s message. The point is, no institution, public or private, puts up a statement damning itself. It lies within our rights, however, as journalists, to also note Kurt’s public statements and reasonably critique it. 

In his New Year’s message, Kurt lauded the GFA’s Executive Council. He touted the “significant inroads” they made in courting “massive corporate support” culminating in the “landmark partnerships with BetPawa, Malta Guinness and Access Bank for the Premier League, Women's Premier League and Division One League respectively. 

“These, alongside other meaningful partnerships with MTN, Mara, Goil, Uber, Flora and Zeepay, give credence to the enormous efforts made in our collective drive of creating wealth for all”. He also thanked President Akufo Addo and the Youth and Sports Minister, Mustapha Ussif, for “their commitment and support for the development and growth of football”. That was necessary. 

And then, Kurt said this of the media: “To the media, thank you for your consistent coverage of our events and the positive critiques”. This is worthy of note. Kurt, with this, positions the GFA as a body that accepts fair criticism. It’s why they should desist from issuing warnings of legal actions against lies and defamation.

That conduct gives them away as intolerant. As I’ve said previously, the GFA better heads to court on specific cases of journalists lying and defaming them than resort to warnings that potentially create a needless, hostile relationship with the media.

Finally, Kurt did not mention the biggest 2022 disappointments — our abysmal AFCON show in Cameroon and of course, the banning of the Black Maidens from participating in the next two FIFA tournaments for age cheating. Why he made no mention of the unprecedented AFCON fiasco and the infamous age-cheating scandal is already stated. 

For me, the two significant setbacks should remind him that there’s far more to be done to develop our football. Best wishes to the GFA President and everyone in Ghana football. Happy New Year.