President of Cheetah Football Club Abdul Hay Yartey has ascribed a number of reasons to the apparent lack of Ghanaian players at the top level of European footballers.
In the not so distant past, Ghanaian players flooded the best of Europe’s top-flight leagues with Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Stephen Appiah and others playing for some of Europe’s giant clubs.
However, the past few years have seen a sharp decline in the representation of Ghanaian football at the upper echelons of European football.
In an interview with www.ghanaweb.com Yartey mentioned the age restriction rule introduced by FIFA as one of the factors working against the success of Ghanaian players.
The rule which was introduced in 2001 is aimed at protecting minors from the exploitative intentions of unscrupulous agents.
Under this rule, players could only sign professional contracts at age 18.
Yartey explains in the years prior to the promulgation of the rule, Ghanaian players signed deals with clubs at relatively young ages which allows them to go through the club’s system and accelerate their development.
But with the new rule, a Ghanaian player can only sign for a team at 18 which discourages some clubs.
He also highlighted the adverse effect social media, complacency and women are having on Ghanaian football and its footballers.
He said due to the poor backgrounds of most Ghanaian players, the slightest bite at success makes them complacent and dim their hunger for success. “Age limitation by FIFA has affected our footballers. Those days, the Sulleys and Michael Essien time we didn’t have any age limitation. Age limitation means you can only sign a professional contract when you are 18. He can go out at 16 but can only sign a contract at 18 and that has affected our players”.
“Contentment is one issue. When a Ghanaian player travels to Europe and gets his first $1000 he is content. When he travels to Europe and scores 10 goals and they make him captain then complacency sets in. These are some of the factors that narrow down the height African players need to get when they get to Europe”, he said.