The election of Komla Kuma Ameyi as the new president of the Togo Football Association (FTF) last November represented a small step forward for the organisation, which has endured some uncertain times over the last several years.
As he continues to settle into his post, Mr Ameyi made a courtesy visit to Zurich on Friday and met with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
“Our ‘fair play’ ticket was elected on 5 November last year and a new board was put in place,” Ameyi told FIFA.com. “We thought the time was now right to come and visit our governing body. Above all, it’s given me the opportunity to thank President Blatter and, through him, FIFA for all the work they have done to help our Association emerge from a crisis that has gone on for too long.”
The recently elected president certainly has plenty of work in front of him, including a number of development projects he discussed with the FIFA President. “We spoke about the many projects currently in progress, such as the Goal II project and a series of other development initiatives,” Ameyi explained. “We want to put the emphasis on youth football, women’s football, referee training and infrastructures.”
The enthusiastic new FTF team is anxious to put the troubles and indecision of the past behind it and look to the future, as Ameyi explained: “Things had come to a complete halt and it was time to get going again. We’ve already done that. The second division championship got under way on 29 January and we’ve also started running training courses for referees and female coaches in Lome (the capital of Togo).”
The long-term objective of Ameyi and his team is to put Togolese football back on a firm footing and give the country’s elite teams and players the chance to shine on the continental and international scene once more.
“Other leagues are being set up right now, among them the first division, a women’s league and a youth championship,” he continued. “We want to promote training across the board and we’re also hoping to set up better infrastructures to sustain development. The ultimate goal is to improve performances overall and to develop the best athletes and administrators over the next three to four years. If we can do that, we’ll transform the image of Togolese football.”
The jewel in the Togolese crown is the national team, which reached the FIFA World Cup™ finals for the first time in its history at Germany 2006. That success was undermined by subsequent instability at the FTF and the dramatic incidents that preceded last year’s CAF African Cup of Nations in Angola.
Despite their recent travails, Ameyi is confident Togo can become a force in the African game once more: “The Sparrowhawks are a competitive team and we haven’t heard the end of them in the qualifying competition for the 2012 African Cup of Nations 2012, I can assure you of that,” he said, signing off with a hearty laugh.