Women’s football in Ghana does not reach the same overall popularity levels as men’s football when considered on a variety of factors, i.e. league attendances, participants, media attention, fan engagement or strength of business models as it translates into brand equity and revenue generation.
In an exclusive conversation with africarticles.com, Ghanaian Sports Journalist, and football agent, Susan Sarpomaah Owusu Ansah, who has special interest in the women’s game in the country, she discussed a numbers of simple factors she believes can improve the women’s game if taken seriously and implemented by the stakeholders.
Among the factors Susan mentioned included change in player attitude, proper player management, social media presence and player motivation.
Susan who has followed women’s football for a good amount of time now, said, from her experience of reporting on their games, she thinks one of the elementary factors hampering female football in Ghana was the players’ poor attitude to their profession. She admitted Ghana is blessed with a lot of talented female footballers but added that they didn’t seem to know what they have.
“If I’d want to go to the park to watch a female footballer out there, then I need to know that that player understands what she’s doing… she’s good…she’s talented… yes, we have a lot of talents here in Ghana but it seems the girls don’t value what they have.”
According to her, it appears the players view what they do as a hobby rather than as a long term career or profession.
“…most of them are just doing it…they follow their friends to training, develop interest in football and so ‘yeah, we are just playing football’ and don’t really see anything good that can come out of it.”
Susan who is also into player management, underscored the importance of a professional management team in the life of a footballer and suggested that female players should “get a proper management to teach them that this is something you can make money from.”
The sports journo also lamented that “some of the girls don’t really take their training seriously” and don’t make themselves attractive because they mostly dress anyhow to matches not paying attention to their personal branding. “But if they would brand themselves well, put something good about them out there, people would want to know what’s in women’s football.”
Another thing she touched on was the lack of official club websites and social media presence.
“Now we live in a digital age; therefore if you have a team or an organization which is not on social media, then it’s more like you’re lighting a candle and keeping it under a basket – no one will see you.”
Susan revealed that from her experience of covering women’s football in Ghana and following the teams, only a handful of them have social media accounts and only one team has a website.
“the only women’s team in Ghana we can talk of is Ridge City Women’s FC. They have active social media pages – Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, MyCoolJoe.
“…with MyCoolJoe, all their football matches are streamed…their training games are all streamed live. On their Twitter page, they have daily activities they do there. They post videos of their players’ training sessions…even during the lockdown, the girls were training at home and they posted their individual videos. They’re club took advantage of Zoom…they always had Zoom trainings.” She explained.
“Take advantage of social media, let players dress well, take good pictures and post them. When they train, take a video, and post it. It all puts the girls and the club out there.
“If anyone wants to know about, let’s say Hasaccas Ladies, they can just log onto Hasaccas Ladies on Twitter and see what they are up to… the kind of players they have, etc. But if you’re not in the social media space, why should I invest my money in your club?”
“Ridge City is the only Women’s club that has a website in Ghana. All the other teams don’t have websites; so if you want to know something about Police Ladies for instance, you have to call them, and sometimes even if you call them, they are not even sure about the answers or information they’re giving you because they don’t keep archives of what their records; that is one of the challenges that shouldn’t even exist because I think that’s something simple to do.
“Just keep archives. How much is a camera? Buy a camera. Take videos of your matches. Create a YouTube Channel. So if I want to see a player like Animwaa Ruth Animwaa in Police Ladies, I can just log onto Police Ladies’ website or Police Ladies’ YouTube Channel or their twitter handle and see videos and pictures of Animwaa and know this is what Animwaa does etc. and also make sure that each player has a social media page just to put themselves out there.”
Final thing Susan talked about was Player motivation. According to the lady who is passionate about her gender and their sports, most of the players are not being paid at all and that, she said, affects the girls in a number of ways.
“Most of these girls are not motivated, in terms of money, they are not even paid; just a few of them are well paid. So they have challenges in what to eat, where to sleep and sometimes they just follow their friends to training.”
Susan however admitted it’s hard but urged the teams to work harder to secure sponsors and give the girls professional contracts among other things in order to motivate them to give off their best which will go a long way to improve the women’s game and make it a little more attractive.
In her concluding thoughts, Susan believes these basic things, when implemented can make a world of difference in the women’s game in the country.