The souls of the eight boys Rest in Peace. My heartfelt condolences go to their families. God soothe their pain and help them find comfort. Those hospitalised, I pray, will speedily regain strength. In all, God who knows everything will keep our aching hearts at peace. But while praying that the souls of the Offinso football lads rest in peace and our grieving hearts find serenity and comfort in this difficult time, questions ought to be asked and a rethink of football administration at the grassroots is inevitably imperative.
We take too many things for granted but an unfortunate occurrence like this ought to cause a change of ways. It may not be the right time to blame anyone since that may deepen emotional wounds while giving one away as insensitive but commentaries aimed at seeking a change to certain things in the game should be allowed. Any serious society will ask questions whose answers must be provided by football authorities in the district, regional and indeed, the national level. Parents of the lads must ask questions and demand answer from the coaches, the DFA, the RFA and the GFA although that will not restore the lives of their departed wards.
Details of what African Vision FC were out for, when the tragic incident occurred have not been that straight for me but the Ashanti Regional Football Association (ARFA) said the juvenile team had travelled to Afrancho to undertake their regular District Colts football registration and met their untimely death on their return. The Ministry of Youth and Sports put out the same thing that: the team was “returning to its base after registration of its players for the District Juvenile League. The team’s minibus reportedly burst a front tire, the driver lost control of the steer, consequently plunging the vehicle into the Offinso River. Very sad situation.
You are not wrong to ask if football has not been banned under the Covid-19 restrictions? You are also not at fault to find out, if by the restrictions, African Vision FC, could embark on that exercise. Was the exercise on the orders of the ARFA and were they not contravening the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the game? And perhaps, the most important question: Why should players be bused over miles for paper work? Is that the only way we can register them for a league competiton in this era?
We are grieving over this painful loss and firmly stuck on our conscience too is guilt over the state of football at the lower tier. A critical review of the administration of the game at the district and regional levels is necessary. The GFA President, Kurt Okraku, in the Game Changer Manifesto (page 14), offered to reorganise the RFAs – ensuring effective football management, which will be in synch with principles and policies at the national secretariat. President Kurt, the time do that (if it has not already started) is now.
The report of the GFA’s delegation to Offinso should kickstart real reforms.