The President of Dreams FC, Mr Kurt Simeon Edwin Okraku, has been elected and sworn in as the new President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) after three rounds of voting at the Elective Congress held at the College of Surgeons and Physicians Conference Hall in Accra on Friday.
Forty-eight-year-old Okraku emerged the champion, polling 93 votes out of 117 and beating keen competition from five other candidates, including two former Vice Presidents, Messrs George Akwasi Afriyie and Fred Pappoe, to assume the mantle of leadership for the next four years.
He leads the restructured GFA management team to be run by a 12-member Executive Council for the next four years.
Each of the three rounds of polls saw Mr Okraku lead at the very beginning, and when the voting process was over, the President of the Normalisation Committee, Dr Kofi Amoah, declared him the winner after officials of the Electoral Commission, who supervised the elections, formally announced the results.
Mr Okraku’s victory makes him the 24th President of the 62-year-old GFA, taking over from Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, whose third term tenure ended prematurely after being indicted in an investigative piece to unmask corruption in Ghana football.
The election process
The election, for the first time in recent times, had more than one candidate contesting, as the process from 2006 till 2015, saw the former president Nyantakyi going unopposed.
When the delegates assembled, the business of the day was announced and a few decisions were taken after which the process began.
The first round took place with Mr Okraku being the first on the ballot paper, with Mr Afriyie being second, Mr Pappoe, Ms Amanda Akuokor Clinton, Nana Yaw Amponsah and Mr George Ankomah Mensah following in that order.
At the end of the first round, Kurt polled 44, Afriyie had 40, Nana Amponsah assumed the third place with 27 votes, while Mr Pappoe had six.
Ms Clinton and Mr Ankomah had no votes.
With no candidate polling 61 votes or the required 50 plus one (50+1) per cent as stipulated in the GFA Statutes for outright victory, the election had to go into a run-off with the four candidates.
However, Mr Pappoe withdrew, leaving the three men to face the voters.
At the end of the second round, Mr Okraku extended his lead with 59 votes, 16 more than Afriyie who polled 43, while Mr Amponsah had his votes reduced to 16.
Thus a third-round, to be a straight contest between the two leaders, was required. However, barely had the process begun than Mr Afriyie conceded defeat to pave the way for the process to end.
Though he conceded, the process had to be completed to ensure that the 50+1 per cent required was attained, and when the third round of voting was completed, the president had an overwhelming endorsement with 93 votes.
In conceding defeat, Mr Afriyie said: “Football is one big family and throughout my campaign, I have been a unifier. The football people have spoken and in the interest of football, I concede defeat, I congratulate my brother, Kurt.”
Though he conceded, it was a disappointing end for Afriyie who was the first to declare his presidential ambition in March, last year, when he celebrated his 50th birthday.
His campaign was elaborate and it gave a sense of him being in the lead until the election process began on Friday.
Once the process was over and Dr Amoah had made the official declaration, Mr Okraku led the other 11 Executive Council members who were elected yesterday to the podium to be sworn in.
A Supreme Court Judge, Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, who is also the Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, administered the oaths of office and secrecy to usher them into their four-year term.
The 12th member, who will be a representative of the Regional Football Association (RFA), will be elected at a later date as the election held last Thursday was only able to choose one.
The second choice could not be made as two rounds of elections ended in a tie, compelling the officers to reschedule voting as stipulated in the GFA Statutes.
Running on a campaign theme, Game Changer, and clad in all white, Mr Okraku took to the podium to deliver a short acceptance speech amid attempts to push tears back, and called for unity
“Time to look ahead with hope, time to stay together as football is a team sport and the effort of everyone will be needed. Kurt cannot do it alone and my team cannot do it alone,” he said, calling on all stakeholders and particularly the candidates who lost to join in.
“In celebrating, let’s all think Ghana first,” he urged.
While acknowledging that it had been a humbling experience, Mr Okraku said there would be very little time for celebration as work would begin almost immediately.
“We will celebrate victory today, but tomorrow, work begins,” he said, ending his short speech with special gratitude to his immediate family and parents as well as all those who believed in him.
The Executive Council
The revised Status of the GFA has pruned the number of Executive Council members from 23 to 12 and for the first time in the history of the GFA, the Executive Council will have a woman solely representing women’s football.
The other members, as they represent their constituencies, are:
Premier League: George Amoako, Frederick Acheampong, Dr Tony Aubyn, Kingsley Osei Bonsu and Nana Oduro Sarfo
Division One League: Randy Abbey, Mark Addo and Samuel Anim Addo
RFA: Linford Asamoah.
Women’s Football Representative: Habiba Atta Forson
The man Kurt Okraku
Kurt Simeon Edwin Okraku has a long relationship with football starting off at an early age of 17 when he formed the Shooting Stars FC, a youth club in the suburb of Accra.
As a young administrator, he trained to become a sports journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.
Though the face of Dreams FC, Mr Okraku is also a known supporter of Hearts of Oak, a club he served until he formed his current club.
- 2018: Chairman, Local Black Stars Committee
- 2017-2018: Chairman, MTN FA Cup Committee
- 2016-2017: Vice Chairman, MTN FA Cup Committee
- 2015–2018: Member, GFA Executive Committee
- 2010-2016: Member, MTN FA Cup Committee
- 2011-to date: Executive Chairman, Dreams Football Club & its feeder clubs • Still Believe FC – 2nd Division Club,
- In God We Trust SC – Colts Club,
- Dreams Tamale FC – 2nd Division Club
- Administrative Manager of GHALCA
- General Manager, Wassaman FC
- Formed Dreams Football Club
- An adminstrator of former Colts Club, Jawara Babies,
- The Communication Director of Afienya United.
He trained as a journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism and became a sports presenter/producer at University of Ghana, Legon campus-based Radio Univers.