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FIFA young female referees course ends in Prampram

The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku, today June 24, 2024, closed a FIFA Female Young Talent Course for young Referees at the Technical Centre of the GFA at Prampram, with a pivotal decision to make the top referees (male and female) full time employees of the Football Association.

President Simeon-Okraku made the announcement during the closing ceremony of the capacity building workshop for the “Catch Them Young Referees” which ended on Monday June 24, 2024, at the Ghanaman Soccer Center of Excellence, Prampram.

He said the top five referees (male and female) will be the first professional referees from Ghana that will actively participate in tournaments both locally and internationally.

“Given the commitment of the GFA and given your displayed passion, I’ve no doubt that with the right environment, you will be top referees soon. Four (4) years ago, I made a firm commitment to have our first set of professional referees and I am glad to announce that the first five professional referees to come from Ghana will be from the Catch Them Young Referees,” he said, amidst applause

“At the annual Congress of the GFA, which will be held here (Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence, Prampram) in August, we’re going to announce the first male and female professional referees from this policy. What it means is that the referees selected, based on merit, will be full time employees of the Football Association.

“The Catch Them Young Refereeing strategy is my premium policy and we’ll give it all the push that we can. We want our referees to be at all the top international meets. For every level of football competition, we should have a Ghanaian (male or female) referee being part of the tournament.”

The Catch Them Young Refereeing policy, which is the brainchild of the GFA President, has seen a huge number of passionate and ambitious Boys and Girls being enrolled in the hugely popular policy.

“This Catch Them Young Refereeing strategy is my own baby!! Having completely been in the football ecosystem for years, and having identified two key need areas in our football system, that is, refereeing and coaching, I decided to pursue the journey by fixing our problems right from the bottom. Identifying young boys and girls who have the right levels of passion for refereeing and who offer themselves for investment and guidance to become the very best in the game,” President Simeon-Okraku said.

“When it comes to footballers, all of us seek to identify talents across the age brackets. But when it comes to refereeing, we didn’t appear to care and I thought that was completely wrong. So, when I was given the chance to serve as the President, I decided to change the narrative and introduced this strategy. Fortunately, I’ve had good support from the Executive Council, the RFA’s and the Refereeing Department of the FA. The result is what we see here!

“The FA is very much committed to the development of this generation of referees.  We are very proud about the progress we’ve made. We are very happy that a lot more girls are now showing interest in refereeing. You can see clearly that we’re very committed towards your cause. We want to give you all the chance to grow in your profession and we want to imbibe in you, all the right values that a male or female referee needs to have.”

The President urged the participants to learn and grow in the laws of the game to make them top notch referees in future,  drawing inferences from the Holy Bible and Quran.

“If you do not know the laws of the game, you cannot be a good referee. If you know the Bible, you will know how to live by the Bible. If you know the Quran, you will know how to live by the Quran. If you want to be a top referee, you need to know the laws of the game. The only way to grow in its interpretation is to read and learn everyday.”

“Capacity building is a key part of my leadership themes and we’ll continue to invest in your education. It is also important for you to keep up the pace. If you don’t keep up the pace, you will drop off along the line, unfortunately. Let’s stay together as a family and learn from each other to grow.” he concluded.

Thirty-five Young referees from the “Catch Them Young” project of the Ghana Football Association were selected to participate in this critical capacity building program championed by the Federation Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA).

The selected Referees are Referees and Assistant Referees who have officiated in the KGL Inter-regional Championship and Division One League Super Cup matches over the years.

FIFA appointed two FIFA Instructors to run the course in conjunction with a team of Ghanaian Instructors. Technical Instructor Carlos Henriques and Mohamed Houssein, who is a Fitness Instructor, joined five Technical Instructors and three Fitness Instructors from Ghana to deliver instruction to the Course participants.

Head of the Referees Department of the GFA, Alex Kotey was the coordinator for the Course.

Credit: Ghana FA

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