- They have done well so far. They registered players last season for them to be insured but they need to be cushioned by the Ghana Football Association (GFA), and other corporate bodies since it is a huge financial burden on the PFAG. Also, in my case, Mr. Baffoe personally called and assured me of the association paying any debt incurred at the hospital resulting from my recent injury.
Following his revealing series of articles on some of the difficulties that ‘local based’ soccer players endure in the Ghana Premier League in the course of their professional careers, we reached out to the lively forward for his perspective and experience in the League.
Abel Manomey (AM), took the Ghana Premier League by storm last season as a forward with the now-relegated Accra Gt. Olympics. He scored five goals in nine matches, before being hit with a career-threatening injury towards the end of the season.
Following a successful operation to repair a torn meniscus, our roving reporter, Simon Aikins (SA), caught up with the quick-footed striker, who holds a B. Sc. (Physical Education) from the University of Education, Winneba, for a one-on-one interview.
Abel Manomey, is for now, back in the gym, recovering and working his way up, with the hope of returning to the field very soon.
Below is the first part of the interview:
SA: First off, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Can you give readers a quick brief about the rare name ‘Abel’, who you are, your current team, and how your recovery from your recent injury is coming along?
AM: My name Biblically means 'The Just'. It depicts my character. Wherever I go, I wish people will be given fair judgment. Currently, I ply my trade with Accra Great Olympics. I started my recovery process on 1st September, 2017. I am now about 80% fit, and I am hoping to hit full fitness within the next few months.
SA: Going straight to the meat of your recent articles, what is your definition of a Professional Footballer?
AM: A professional footballer is a player who has signed a contract with a club, is entitled to a sign on fee, and a monthly salary. He has other entitlements such as medical care, and insurance throughout the duration of his contract.
SA: Would you consider players in the GPL as professional footballers?
AM: I don't think they are. Their understanding of a professional footballer is shallow. Their understanding is to have their pictures on the front pages of the local newspapers, and on sports web sites etc. Anything beyond that, for instance, what goes into their remuneration, food, and contract is of no interest to them, or it could be said that, they are ignorant of the rudiments of professional football.
SA: Shifting to the financial side which is why we all do what we do to earn a living, many of us on the sidelines are awed by the fact that year in and year out, Ghana Premier League players sign contracts with new teams etc. but the value, or text of the contract is rarely revealed to the public. Why the seeming secrecy in your opinion, and what are your views on that?
AM: The secrecy is not peculiar to Ghana alone. It is worldwide. The only problem is that most players in the Ghana Premier League do not even peruse the contracts they sign.
SA: You referenced signing bonus a couple of times in your articles, does it really exist in the GPL, and are players really paid the bonus as stipulated in their contracts?
AM: Bonuses are even paid more than salaries. Club owners quickly pay it after matches are won in order not to risk being relegated.
SA: Given the seeming unfavorable finances within the GPL, what are your views on players operating without agents? Also, why do players tolerate delayed payments, and continue to play under these painful circumstances?
AM: It is sad players are still playing without agents. Agents lure players with juicy offers via social media and other agencies. They travel with the players overseas and leave them to their fate after milking them dry. Looking at the harsh conditions they go through playing in Ghana, players cannot be faulted. Football agents should be scrutinized by the Ghana Football Association, and registered with the Professional Football Association of Ghana (PFAG). Also, players tolerate delayed payments because they believe their time will surely come one day. Club administrators cannot be blamed so much because they go through hell running the clubs. The players understand, and know that the monies owed them will surely be paid.
SA: What is the longest that you’ve gone without being paid?
AM: Two months during the league session. It was later paid in full.
SA: Would you mind telling readers what the average pay of the local based player is, if it is based on position played, and experience etc.? That is, if you know.
AM: It is between GHS 300.00 and GHS 1000.00. It is based on the experience of the player, his career, and performance.
SA: So, is the financial problem something that is coming from the ownership of the clubs, given that many of them are not filthy rich, and can be considered as philanthropists doing the best they can under the circumstances?
AM: I would like to give a thumbs up to all the club owners out there, especially the owner of Kotoku Royals FC, Mr. Asamoah. He is the only one bankrolling the club. That notwithstanding, any player a team sells usually yields a good financial return for the club. They should take good care of the players since they will make a windfall when they sell the players.
SA: Also, what blame if any falls on the GFA in that they are not helping to generate enough revenue for downward distribution to the clubs, and subsequent payment to the players?
AM: The GFA is doing well but it is not enough. They should discuss player remuneration at their workshops, and also work hand in hand with the PFAG, since the PFAG is the welfare body of the players.
SA: What would you like to see done politically to help arrest the decline in terms of patronage at the games, low salaries etc.?
AM: With the issue of low salaries, there should be a law enacted by parliament that no player should be paid less than GHs 1,000.00. This will help in keeping talented players in the Ghana Premier League, promote it, as well as make it more attractive.
SA: Given the finances, why do you guys continue to play under these conditions… is it the lure of hitting it big one day as a few have been able to do?
AM: Yes, they continue to play under duress with the intention of making a big money move to a foreign league.
SA: Compared to advertisements in the EPL, Bundesliga, and other popular foreign leagues, what would like to see on the Ghanaian scene since that is one of the avenues a lot of funds are generated from towards the payment of players etc.?
AM: More corporate bodies should step in to support the league. They can sell their wares and promote their businesses on match days to generate funds. Some of these funds can be used to support the league and make it more attractive.
SA: Are there any football unions or Associations that the local players belong to?
AM: Yes, there is the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG) headed by Mr. Tony Baffoe, who is ably assisted by Mr. Yusif Chibsah. They have been splendid so far.
SA: What is the relationship between the local players and the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana?
AM: They have done well so far. They registered players last season for them to be insured but they need to be cushioned by the Ghana Football Association (GFA), and other corporate bodies since it is a huge financial burden on the PFAG. Also, in my case, Mr. Baffoe personally called and assured me of the association paying any debt incurred at the hospital resulting from my recent injury.
SA: Given the influx of foreign coaches in the Ghana Premier League and Division One League, what is your advice for footballers as the training techniques of the foreign coaches tend to differ?
AM: As local players, we should be grateful for having the expatriate coaches here. Whatever they teach us will be the same thing that will be taught us when we sign for foreign clubs. Players should be fast at learning and make less mistakes.
SA: How would you describe the current training routine for players in the GPL, and what improvements if any, especially from the scientific field can be applied to make things better?
AM: Growing up, most of our local coaches, especially the colts coaches lacked the expertise, but with the benefits of workshops, some of them have been brought up to speed on the modern rudiments of the training routine. It is unfortunate that the coaches want the players to adapt to these new strategies overnight forgetting the players are used to ancient tactics. Players need to backup and learn quickly because they are growing and need to improve.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview.