The former Youth and Sports Minister is not impressed with the quality and standard of play in the Ghana Premier League.
Honorable Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye who became Youth and Sports Minister during the time of President John Dramani Mahama after a ministerial reshuffle in 2015 to replace Dr. Mustapha Ahmed rated the standard, performance of players in the Ghanaian top-flight league low as compared to the South African and the Zambian.
He further stated that the standard of play in the Ghana Premier League(GPL) has fallen and things need to be organized well.
According to Nii Lantey, players currently playing in the Ghana Premier League will be playing with the junior side of Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko, and the Olympics during their era.
Speaking in an interview with Original Tv he stated, “Even though the standard is not what I expected. Is a step. After all that we went through, you don’t expect to get it blossom, and all of a sudden, you don’t expect it to get to the level that we all expect. I’ve been through, I’ve watched football and the league for years and I can say that is not just a matter of the standard of play of the teams. If these are the best crop of players we have to play for the various premier league teams then it talks about our standard of football itself. I always say that none of these players will be qualified to play for any of the teams in the league when we were playing. They could play for the reserves, the Anokye’s, the Auroras, the Dade, and the rest but not for Hearts of Oak, Kotoko, or the Olympics. They are not.” He said.
In addition, he mentioned the names of some poster boys in the ongoing league like Hearts of Oak’s youngster Afriyie Barnieh and Kotoko’s Frank Etouga Mbella who is the top scorer in the league as he insists their performances are not up to what he expected.
“If you look at some of the best players around like Barnieh, like a few I’ve seen. The Kotoko guy like this(he is not a Ghanaian) you know it tells that we are not really up to the standard. If you compare our game with the South African league. I watch the South African league a lot. Sundowns, Kaiser Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Shekunene, Cape Town City, and the rest. I’ve watched their league. The Kenyan league, I watch the Tanzania league, I watch the Ethiopian league. Possibly you can compare ours with the Ethiopian and then the Kenyan league but not even the Zambian league. There are much more qualities in the Zambian league than in our league and so we need to do something better. I watched the CAF Champions League between Sundowns and Petro de Atletico and the standard was so high. I watched Etienne vs WAC, the standard was super, I watched Al Ahly vs Petro de Atletico and it was super.”
The ex-Sports Minister stated, that the inability of Ghanaian clubs to afford good salaries and wages for players has affected the standard in the league and also putting up a good performance.
“We need to do something about our league. We need to improve upon the quality. If it is the matter of coaching we have to look at it, if it is the matter of players we have to look at it and also look at the players themselves whether they’ve been taking good care of them. I hear some outrageous salaries are being paid to the player of the various Premier League clubs and if you pay your player poorly sometimes you don’t get the best out of the players so we need to sit down at it again and say we are well but can we do better and I think that the Ghana Premier League with the right atmosphere and environment can be better than what we have seen by then that’s what we have for now. Let’s save it, let’s enjoy it.” He ended.
The 56-year-old politician and former MP for Odododiodio Constituency guided Ghana to play two AFCONS, reaching the finals of the 2015 edition and the semi-finals in 2017.