Written by Stephen Hopper
So recently I contacted a Ghanaian Premier League Footballer by the name of Kelvin Boateng. Many of you will ask why the Ghanaian premier league as obviously African football does not bring much attention like European football does or any other football across the globe and this is why I thought this would be a great article to do.
So Kelvin is currently taking a break from the game and he did not renew his contract with his former club due to growing concerns of the conditions in Ghanaian football and is keeping his options open at present. Kelvin formerly of Berekum Chelsea has growing concerns over player welfare in the Ghanaian premier league and is actively seeking a move elsewhere. I asked Kelvin if he ever considered options in England and obviously he has but sadly Ghanaian footballers have to play a minimum of 70% of games to even be considered for such an opportunity.
I asked Kelvin had he been approached by any other clubs and in 2014 there was an offer came in from a Tunisian club however his club in Ghana refused the move by placing a substantial transfer price and sadly the move fell through. Kelvin also had the opportunity to travel to America but time was against him to complete his registration for the trial and subsequently that chance fell through also.
credit Eser Karadag
Then the offer of a move to Mauritius landed at Kelvins lap and after some thought and discussions with his agent and family the decision was made not to make the move as Mauritius as it was like being in the football wilderness playing there. Kelvin is talking to a number of agencies in the hope that one of them can engineer a great move so Kelvin can re-establish his football career. Kelvin is a strong defender who can play football from the back and at the age of 24 has plenty of time to get back into the game and this is very much his hope for the future.
I asked Kelvin what support does he have in terms of family etc and Kelvin explained that he has a very supportive family who support all his decisions regarding his football as this is his career and Kelvin spoke very highly of the support his family offer him, and also explained that although at this time it is a low point for him his family always manage to get him motivated for a fresh challenge playing elsewhere.
Asked about when he eventually hangs up his boots what would he like to do Kelvin responded by saying”Probably. ..have a sight to help the young and upcoming players someday in my own way, pass on words of advice like a consultancy to the youngsters wanting to make a career in football”. I asked Kelvin to date what was his highest point in his career to which he replied “My highest point in football…..In 2014, playing in the CAF champions league preliminaries. …was a wonderful experience. …was my debut season in the club too, won the position after 7 games in the league and went on to become first choice, playing 20 league games out of 30, playing in all 4 games of the champions league campaign” a season in which Kelvin spoke fondly.
I also asked what Kelvin’s low point was in which he replied with “My lowest point…..I have never understood the criteria for the selection of players into the junior and senior national teams here. ….One gets more appearances for club but yet still omitted or overlooked …..Some play less and get call ups. ..basically cause of their contacts in “high places”. I explained to Kelvin that same can be said for top performers in our top two divisions who are always overlooked, here in my opinion this is becoming a worldwide problem and one in which I feel all relevant Governing bodies should look further into.
credit Andrew Moore
I moved on to asking Kelvin about the World Cup that was held in Africa, a subject he was very passionate about and an experience that the whole country seemed to enjoy and here is what Kelvin had to say about the tournament: “The world cup in South Africa was the most amazing thing to have happened to the continent….I tell you…I didn’t have the opportunity to be there to witness for myself….did all that via TV though….It was a chance to show to the world what Africa had to offer in terms of organising, showcasing culture and telling people how beautiful Africa really is. You could see the happiness in the Stadia where the games went on….I know the people of south Africa really had fun….They not only supported their participating teams…but all African countries participating….and in the Ghana-Uruguay game, all of Africa was behind Ghana. .. and felt the pain when the last “surviving team” Ghana, got eliminated.
credit Benjamin Mussler
Back to the earlier issue of player welfare and here is what Kelvin had to say on the matter which obviously concerned him greatly”Player welfare is so bad down here in Ghana. …We have players earning $100 per month. ..and some even less. ..contract fees are normally not paid and so much often end up in disputes between players and their clubs”. I asked Kelvin what the Ghanaian FA were doing to improve things and this was his response”The FA only finds sponsors for the league……The clubs I know, don’t have sponsors enough to help run the club. …either way a sponsor brings in is too little or not sufficient enough or the club has no sponsor at all….It has contributed to the deterioration of the league….The standard of play is down….because the moment a player goes through the system for like two seasons, he’s fed up and looks elsewhere, outside the country”. I tried setting up a group, made up of players, to discuss and present a valid case to the professional footballers association of Ghana, presided by former Ghanaian international Tony Baffoe. ..he’s doing an amazing job, I just thought there was a need for a group that has players who still play and not retired players ….but our cases would have to be presented to the FA by the larger association. .The PFAG”.
We moved on from football to discuss a little about what Kelvin enjoyed doing in his spare time while not training”I love swimming, video games, read a lot…basically everything….and then studying, Table tennis, basketball. …..and dance.Kelvin is also studying an IT degree to ensure he has a career after football. Kelvin at the moment is at a cross roads with his football but also reiterated that he loves and enjoys his football and has no regrets at all bout his footballing career.
I have to say I enjoyed the interview with Kelvin and he spoke well and was very honest about his career, I know no one would have heard about Kelvin but hopefully this will shed a little light on the standard of African football and the growing concerns for player welfare in the country. Thank you to Kelvin for giving up his time to speak to me and I hope you all enjoy the read and find it informative.