Following the decision of the Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to reduce the National Division One League (NDOL) number of participating clubs from 48 to 18, several club officials of the division one, have spoken for or against the idea, and Mr. Paapa Kwesi Esson Arbuah, CEO of Sekondi Hasaacas has added his voice on personal grounds.
As stated above, the current format for the NDOL is zonal level, with all 48 participating clubs divided into three zones with 16 clubs per zone. At the end of a successfully completed season, three clubs, that is winners of each zone gain promotion to the top flight division as clubs that finish last of the top flight table are relegated into the NDOL.
However, referring to Article 81(6) of the GFA Statutes 2019, the GFA announced last Friday its decision to replace the current format with a new one which will see the number of participating clubs reduced from 48 to 18, and a 5-member advisory committee would be set up to “advise the Executive Council on the format, the possible name of the new 18-club Division One League, the phases of the implementation, whether or not a third-tier League will be required and its format”.
Reacting to the initiative, the CEO of NDOL Zone two club Sekondi Hasaacas, Mr. Paapa Kwesi Esson Arbuah, has stated that the current format for the NDOL is the best the nation can have and he personally see nothing wrong with it. Arbuah who was speaking on his personal views and not for the official position of Hasaacas, raised questions about the Article quoted by the GFA, as he believes the basis on which that Article was passed at Congress was just to stipulate the number of representatives Division One clubs should have at the GFA Congress, and not necessarily about the number of clubs to participate in the league.
The Hasmal CEO raised further questions on the basis for changing the current format he believes ensures that football activities are spread across the nation. He raised these concerns in an exclusive interview with Takoradi based West Gold Radio sports programme hosted by the legendary George Kuntu Blankson.
“This is my personal position. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with our current structure we use to play the Division One”, Arbuah told West Gold Radio. “Secondly, the FA has not given us the reason why they want us to play 18-team league, all we’ve heard are people’s opinions, so for me I don’t see the need to change this structure of zone one, zone two, zone three”, Arbuah opined.
According to him, he cannot as at now say what the FA wants to do will help the clubs or not, but he expects and is waiting to see the basis why the new system, if made official, should be adopted.
“What they’ve brought is a proposal, but my question is why is it that we have a structure that allows us to play it on zonal levels and they want to change it, on what basis do they want to change it and if you change it what help with it bring to us? If you get those answers then you can see whether it will help or not”, he said.
Meanwhile, the enterprising football administrator believes that the current format makes the football activities spread across the country, and is the best to practice.
“If I look at the current structure which is on zonal level I think it’s the best because all the three zones have 16 teams each which are scattered across the country, and we want the masses to follow the game and these people are at the places where the matches are played currently. So if you make it 18 [clubs] and the 18 doesn’t spread across the country then it means most Ghanaians will not get the good heart to follow”, he explained.
To him, until the GFA comes out with the actual reason why they want the current format changed, he does not see the need to change it. He ended by urging all supporters of Sekondi Hasaacas to adhere to all the COVID-19 safety precautionary measures, and stay home and go out only when it’s absolutely needed.