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By ESPN Staff

Noonan issues passionate plea for Ghana football

Accra Hearts of Oak CEO Mark Noonan has issued a passionate appeal for Ghanaians to put local football first as the uncertainty over the game rumbles on.

A corruption scandal has crippled domestic football for the last two months but Noonan, an American charged with transforming the fortunes of local giants Hearts of Oak, says the problems with the local game goes way beyond those issues.

"The issue goes far beyond the current corruption scandal, which is but a mere symptom of the much larger disease: we don't properly support our own while we invest our precious resources on foreign brands in faraway lands," Noonan wrote on Twitter.

Noonan claims Ghana football is "on life support" and requires action before it is too late.

"Why is every professional player desperate to go 'outside' long before they are ready, even if that means plying their trade in places where they are miserable?

"Why do ALL the young people support foreign clubs and ignore their 'home' teams? Why do we play matches at 3pm on weekdays when most people are working and/or studying?

"Why don't the majority of our facilities properly showcase the beautiful game and provide a safe and professional environment for our players/supporters?

"Why weren't the Black Stars in Russia? Why is developing players for export the only semi-sustainable business model for local clubs? Why do we fare poorly in CAF competitions against nations/clubs/leagues we should be beating handily?"

Attendances at domestic league games have dwindled consistently in recent years while interest in foreign leagues like the Premier League and La Liga has soared, but Noonan insists the high interest in those leagues can co-exist with a strong affection for the domestic game.

"I truly believe the ingredients exist to build a global football superpower," he added. "Yes, superpower, because we have the one thing in the sport that absolutely cannot be faked ... an abundance of playing talent.

"Add in political stability, a growing economy, great weather, passionate supporters, etc., and the only thing that can stop us, frankly, is us."


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