Bechem United coach Tom Strand is dumbfounded with the level of officiating in the Ghana top flight, especially in their game against Hearts of Oak last Sunday.
The 32-year-old hurriedly boarded his side's team bus to travel back to Bechem, a journey he described as walking from the North pole to the South pole. He said what he has seen in the league by the men in black can kill the most cherished sport in Ghana, calling some of them 'old men' trying to destroy the game for the youth.
“I was shocked after our defeat to Hearts, this is supposed to be the highest league in the country [Ghana] and they allow some old men to run and joke around,” Strand told Goal Ghana. “Some of these referees must be responsible and stop being enemies to football because they play a role in the development of the players.”
He added: “Some of the referees deliberately frustrate players with bookings and foul against them, it affects their games afterwards because these boys don't sleep and begin to think over it all night to know whether he was indeed wrong with his tackles or not. Some even feel demoralised because some management members and supporters at times blame such players for their teams' defeat whereas it was the mistake of the referees.
“The GFA and the referees are the ones who are responsible. There should be demands of professionalism from people doing this job. In Bechem United's last three matches, we've come across bad officiating. There's always free kick against us every minute, the balls don’t flow in the games. I don't know why but it's not professional at all to me since it destroys the game's beauty.”
Strand believes individuals and corporate bodies should also come on board to salvage the diminishing image of local football.
“It can't just be me alone to say this, others can also bring on board their views to save the game. I believe government and corporate bodies can join hands to protect the source of revenue for many young players because they depend on football for ends meet .This is the feeling I get working as a coach here but I can be wrong because it could be a part of the game.”
Strand joined Bechem United from Golden Boat Academy before the start of the second round of the season.