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African football’s youngest CEO seeks to grow ‘Ghana’s biggest club’

Aged 27, Emmanuel Frimpong has become African football’s youngest Chief Executive – taking the role at Ashanti Gold following the departure of Frederick Acheampong.

Having achieved that – his father is the club’s owner – he has set his target on making Ashanti Gold the biggest club in Ghana.

The president of Ashanti Gold wanted someone who had the club’s interest at heart and looked no further than his son.

“I’m regarded as the youngest CEO in African football. It is a privilege but it is a big task,” Frimpong Jr told BBC Sport Africa.

“I know I am going to get the job done. I am going to get Ashanti Gold to the next level.” .

Frimpong said his ambitions for the club include having having at least five players who are part of the Ghana national team, the Black Stars.

“I want to grow younger players and revive the academy,” he said.

“There are a lot of talented players in Ghana but they have not been given the exposure to succeed. I want to change that.”

Emmanuel Frimpong’s appointment has been debated because of his inexperience in football administration.

Was it simply the case that the only qualification Frimpong had needed for the job was his surname?

‘Nothing to do with age’

Frimpong and his father: CEO and President of Ashatigold

But perhaps his father’s decision comes as no surprise when he tells his background story.

Born on 20 March 1993 in Switzerland, Emmanuel attained a degree in Business administration at Thompson Rivers University in Canada.

After several years in Europe, he returned to work with Champion Groups of Companies as the General Manager for Champion Broadcasting limited, Champion TV and Champion Hotel.

‘’My father is a business man and he knows my abilities – that is why he appointed me,” he said.

“I don’t care what people say about me. A leader has nothing to do with age. I believe in myself and I know what I am capable of doing.

‘’I have been behind the scene since my dad took over the team and also managing the family business since I moved back to Ghana. If I can successfully manage other businesses, how much more successful can I be in football which I’m passionate about?’’

Ashanti Gold is based in the gold mining town of Obuasi, south of Kumasi.

The capital of Ashanti region is also home to Ghana football giants, Asante Kotoko.

Frimpong said he acknowledged the challenge of usurping Kotoko as the biggest club in the region, but is braced for the Asante rivalry.

“The rivalry has always been Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, but after my father took over Ashanti Gold, it has been Ashanti Gold and Asante Kotoko,” he argued.

“As the new CEO of Ashanti Gold, my target is to make us come out top in this rivalry. I respect Kotoko and their achievement, but I am here to make Ashanti Gold bigger.”

Virus debate

Emmanuel Frimpong
Frimpong believes the league restart should be delayed until players can be better protected

However, the young CEO will have to wait a while to get the ball rolling, with the Ghana Premier League still on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashanti Gold are currently fifth on the standings with 25 points after 15 games.

“It is tough – this virus has ruined everything,” Frimpong said.

“Ghana is planning on restarting the league but I feel it is not the right thing to do. If we don’t find the solution to the virus then we don’t have to play.

“I believe the government will take the right decision to take to protect everyone. We are waiting on them – we all want to go back to football, but as at now, it is not looking good.

“The health of my players is more important. Until we find a solution to it, I am not going to put my players through that risk.

“This virus is huge. We can’t take it as a joke.’’

Amongst the changes Frimpong has already made is the make-up of the management team, with new coaches for the senior team and the academy.

He said he wants the club ultimately to be a model not just for other teams in the country, but the national side too.

“I am here to win,” he added.

“I am not here to lose. When people think of Ashanti Gold, I want them to think of one of the biggest club in Africa. That is my goal.’’

Credit: BBC Sport

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