PRESIDENT of the Ghana Beach Soccer Association, Mr Yaw Ampofo Ankrah believes that after a decade of experimental development, the time is right for a total overhaul and rebranding of beach soccer in Ghana.
The man, who is widely acknowledged as the founding father of beach soccer along with Albert Frimpong who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Skate Soccer and media guru Sammy Heywood Okine, have been at the helm of affairs for a decade amidst challenges, hurdles, and relative successes.
In his estimation, Mr Ankrah believes that out of the decade, only five years were used to progressively advance through marketing and branding.
“It’s not about making excuses but the fact remains that we had no textbook or template to guide us in our formative days and so it was trial and error from day one.
“It has been a blessing in disguise over the past few years because we’ve had more disappointments, failures and setbacks than successes but these very setbacks have allowed us to appreciate what works and what does not and will be used as a guide for any future beach soccer management to advance the growth and development of the sport.”
Former player and now manager of Layoca Beach Soccer Club, Nii Laryea Bonnie, shares the view that the sport is about to finally take off and explode because the lessons of past disappointments would serve as a major guide.
There are significant positives to celebrate about beach soccer in Ghana.
Record-setting teams like triple league champions Keta Sunset and one time winners Mighty Havedzi blazed the trail from the Volta Region.
Greater Accra has produced clubs like Sea Lions, Layoca, Wuo Gbee, Gulf Powers and Dansoman Beach Soccer Club.
Other names that have become household names in beach soccer include Osu Dolphins, Ada Assurance, Chorkor Blue Whales, Golden Eagles and Teshie United BSC, as well as Nima Beach Soccer Club.
Ironically, the football-dominated Ghanaian media is yet to fully embrace the energy demanding sport or critically assess the impact the sport has made over such an explosive period.
For example, during the 2014 season, Beach Soccer was able to run a double-tier league of 20 teams making it the first of its kind on the Africa continent.
Due to lack of sponsorship, logistics and general technical resources, the league was reset down to 10 teams with clubs hailing from the Western, Central, Volta and Greater Accra regions of Ghana.
Meanwhile, a sports marketing consultant, Mr Frederick Amoah has advised beach soccer team owners to set up their clubs on professional models to meet the challenges of sport management and business.
It is no secret that Mr Ankrah is currently in talks with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) on potential partnership and affiliation as encouraged by Confederation of Africa Football leading to the accelerated growth of the sport on the domestic front, across the African continent and eventually a strong African presence beyond the continent.
Ghana Beach Soccer is likely to go to Congress before March by which time the GFA would have outlined the wider context for the development of the game.
Meanwhile, the ‘Ghana Beach Soccer @10’ anniversary programme, is also expected to roll out where clubs would be given the opportunity to present their internal set up-structures which would create an enabling environment for more funding, infrastructure and general support to boost the sport.