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March/April 2008

Sandlanders aim to become the Barcelona of Africa

The big kick-off

How our members are supporting the emergence of a club seeking to revolutionise football in the developing world.

Our Division 2 campaign kicks-off on Sunday 30 March in the toughest possible fashion with a game away at Red Bull Soccer Academy of Sogakope. Our opponents are backed by Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg who have set up soccer academies in Ghana and Brazil to source talent for their main sides in Europe and the US.

Barcelona are one of the world’s great football clubs, they are owned and run by over 100,000 members worldwide and have a motto that they are ‘more than just a football club’. As a member of Keta Sandlanders Football Club, you are part of a revolutionary project which is taking this model into the 21 st century, using modern technology to bring sustainable development to the club and local community. Our ideas are broadly based on those Barcelona principles – that the club is owned and run by you the members and that the club has responsibilities beyond the football pitch (exactly why we pledge 1/5 of funds raised to charities and local community projects - please see our article on ‘Sandlanders in the Community’ on page 4). The website: will be used as a base from which you can follow your club, we will be posting fixtures and results, video highlights of games, continued on page 2

Inside this Issue 1

Red Bull Soccer Academy v Sandlanders


The Barcelona of Africa


Sandlanders in the Press


Sandlanders in the Community

Red Bull Soccer Academy v Keta Sandlanders FC

The aims of the academy are high and its General Manager Sanzio Bahner (a former coach of past African Champions Accra Hearts of Oak) says the Red Bull Soccer School in Ghana could become the biggest producer of soccer talent in sub-Saharan Africa. The academy, located in Sogakope in the Volta Region (about a 1 hour drive from Keta) currently has 30 players drawn from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo and last Thursday the side lost just 2-0 to Liberty Professionals (second in the Ghanaian Premiership and the place where both Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari started out). Prior to this defeat against top class opposition Red Bull’s home record stood at 15 wins and 2 draws in 17 home matches under the continued on page 3

Keta Sandlanders FC March/April 2008

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match reports and player profiles to keep you updated on progress and allow you to get to know the squad. Membership Growth The growth of our membership base has allowed the club to develop over the last few months. Our members are currently drawn from the UK, the US, Germany, France and Australia, this illustrates the global appeal of the idea and you will see from our ‘Sandlanders in the Press’ article on page 3 how the scheme has received praise from business leaders, charity workers and the media. Members contributions have helped us to provide for the basic needs of the squad including moving them into a much improved camp in Keta (pictures of the new camp are available on the website). Going forward it is crucial that we are able to look after these basic amenities and this camp will be a terrific base to take us into the new season. Progress on the field has been good, in a total of 12 pre-season friendly matches we have lost only once, drawing four times and winning seven. Some new faces have been brought into the squad to bolster competition for places, overall morale on camp is good and Coach Seth is optimistic about our prospects. As you will see from the Red Bull Academy preview the standard of opposition in Division 2 this year is high and our five year plan envisages an adjustment to the standard this year before aiming for promotion to Division 1 next year (both the 5 year plan and an explanation of how the league system works are available on the website). Members Involvement As you can see your contributions really have aided the development of the club. As indicated in our 5 year plan our ideas are long term and involve the club emerging as a real force in African football for years to come but is important to us that you understand exactly how you are involved and where the money is going. As explained on the website, in the early days funds are used to support the basic needs of the club so that we are able to look after the players and provide them with the conditions necessary to make the most of their potential (fundamentals which are so often in short supply in Ghana). All of these developments will be

posted on the website and this newsletter will be issued to you on a monthly basis to update you on progress. Members are encouraged to use the forums to communicate with the club and other members, we will have on-line votes on aspects of club business (such as kit choices and sponsorship proposals) and we will also be running a ‘Members Player of the Month’ competition. In these ways we hope to keep you engaged and involved. We are currently working hard to formalise the membership structure of the club via a club constitution which will set out clearly member’s rights and entitlements. Ambitiously, our plans are to establish the club in Ghana as a not-for-profit cooperative which would operate on a ‘one member one vote’ basis (which really will give you secure ownership of the club with no potential liabilities - just the satisfaction of knowing that you have a part share in an emerging African side). Exactly as Barcelona is run, we would then allow members to vote for a President and a Board of Directors who would look after the management of the club for a set period. This membership would also be opened out to local people in Ghana who could group together to purchase their 1 share in the club. In this way we really would be revolutionising the way sports clubs are run in Africa and giving the people a genuine chance to participate. As dictated by the members and the constitution, the annual accounts would be subject to member scrutiny and all of the proceeds would be channelled back into the club and the community - a real model for sustainable development. Please use the website to let us know of your views on these proposals. The Sandlanders will continue to be innovative in our approach to the management and presentation of the game in the developing world and we look forward to entertaining you in the coming years. A little support goes a long way in Ghana and there is every chance that we will soon be producing top class players and doing so in a way which helps to rejuvenate the community in Keta. FC Barcelona was formed over a century ago with nothing but a distinct philosophy, the Sandlanders share the vision that a football club can operate for the common good and we have every ambition to build a club that the people of Ghana and our international members will be proud of. n

Keta Sandlanders FC March/April 2008

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Sandlanders in the Press In the last couple of months the Sandlanders have received the backing of the media, business leaders and charity workers. This level of coverage is unprecedented for a team from Africa’s lower divisions and it all stems from an appreciation that we have a unique idea for the promotion and development of the game. Links to these articles are attached to the same email as this newsletter; please send them on to friends to spread the word about the Sandlanders. As you are aware, the more members we have the more we can do for the club and the community. The quotes below are snapshots from articles written on the Sandlanders so far. For those of you who speak Spanish, an article on the club will shortly be appearing in Argentinian daily paper Clarín ( which will discuss how the model could be applied to clubs in Argentina and elsewhere in the developing world and look out for a piece in The Football Supporter (official magazine of the Football Supporters’ Federation).

guidance of Burkinabe Coach Webonga Piouhiri who led Burkina Faso to a third place finish in the 2001 World Under-17 Championships in Trinidad and Tobago. The odds are clearly stacked against us going into the match but the boys have trained hard and will go into the game with confidence. Irrespective of the outcome it will be great experience for a young squad to play against a side which has hand-picked players from across West Africa.

Red Bull Soccer Academy aim to become the biggest producer of soccer talent in sub-Saharan Africa

"It's brilliant, just brilliant” Jochen Zeitz, CEO of sportswear giant Puma on the Sandlanders scheme “Offers a model of ownership that may be the future for many smaller clubs throughout the world…This might be the start not merely of something big for Keta but for community football as a whole.” The Financial Times “The idea is that globalised 21st century technology can drive a scheme that will have huge benefits to a deprived community in a developing country…A group of charity workers and senior executives present at the African Cup of Nations were highly impressed by the scheme.” The Observer

Upcoming fixtures 30/03/08 Red Bull Soccer Academy v Keta Sandlanders 06/04/08 Keta Sandlanders v Ananse Int. Academy 13/04/08 Krachi Youth Academy v Keta Sandlanders

Supporters run to congratulate Sandlanders players after a recent friendly match. The game away at Red Bull will be followed by a home game against Ananse International Academy and another trip away this time to Krachi Youth Academy. As you can tell from the names there is a real emphasis on the academy structure in African football at the moment. Well run academies which nurture talent in a responsible fashion with an emphasis on the welfare and all-round development of the players (in terms of looking after their education as well as their football) can only be a good thing going forward. In a few years we hope that the development of our member’s scheme and the support of key corporate sponsors will allow us to create an academy system which is above all respectful to the players and the community. Our ideas as to how African football can develop are progressive and go way beyond merely nurturing players to be sold on to European sides, your support will help us to achieve these aims. n

Keta Sandlanders FC March/April 2008

Sandlanders sponsorship

Sandlanders in the Community

Our efforts to spread the word about the Sandlanders and to attract key partners to the cause.

1/5 of all funds raised to be donated to the local community.

The reality of modern football is that teams require sponsorship to survive. Our unique membership system goes some way to reducing dependency on any kind of sponsorship but greater things can inevitably be achieved with this extra support.

We believe that the success and advancement of the Sandlanders can act as a catalyst for development in the Keta area as a whole. The Sandlanders will be contributing 1/5 of all funds raised by the club to our charitable partner Afrikids ( and to local schemes in the Keta area. A once thriving port, Keta is now desperately poor and lacking in basic healthcare and education provisions. In the long term we would intend to set up scholarships at local schools to allow access to education for children in the community (child labour is still a real issue) and to

We believe that members should be entitled to review and approve any sponsorship proposals (an important aspect of the running of a not-for-profit organisation). Barcelona members for instance have always boycotted the use of a sponsors name on the club shirt (Barcelona now make a donation to UNICEF in order to sport their logo - a charitable act authorised by the members). Despite this fact, the club still makes money from its associations with sponsors (such as a kit deal with Nike), these associations are again approved by the members. In the same way we would like to involve you in the decision making process. The club is currently preparing a business plan which we will circulate to each of our members. The plan will set out budgets and our targets for the future. We propose to circulate the plan to companies with an existing market interest in Africa and a strong set of community responsibilities and values. It is crucial that all of our associations allow us to develop with sensitivity to local life and a continued commitment to the development of the community in Keta. If you have any thoughts as to which companies we should approach or as to other ways of fundraising then please let us know. Please also forward our web address to anyone who you think may be interested in signing up as a member - again, the more members that we have the more we are able to achieve for the club and the community. Players, management and staff of Keta Sandlanders FC thank you for your continued support. Very best wishes to the boys for the season ahead.n

Keta has 1 recognised doctor for every 22,000 people and child labour persists in the area…as with football in Ghana a little support can make a huge difference establish clinics allowing people access to decent healthcare. We would also make commitments to working to develop local industry. Fisheries and agriculture are the main work areas but both are under-resourced and locals are under-trained. Subtle changes to infrastructure and a commitment to training the workers would ensure giant strides in productivity, as with football in Ghana a little support can make a huge difference. In the same way that Barcelona promotes Catalan culture, we intend to do the same for the culture of Keta. Articles on the town will appear on the website and we will be supporting local tourist projects (the area has huge potential as you will be able to see from pictures on the site). A recent fundraising concert held in London was named ‘Hogbetsotso’ in honour of a festival celebrated in Keta each November commemorating the liberation of the local Ewe tribe from slavery in Benin. In short the Sandlanders are ‘more than just a football club’ and we hope that our activities will bring benefits to this deprived area. Please let us know if you have specific ideas for local schemes or strong feelings on particular projects we should support, this is your club and our members will have a crucial role to play in shaping our community activities. n

Keta Sandlanders FC March/April 2008

Sandlanders Newsletter Season 1 Issue 1  
Sandlanders Newsletter Season 1 Issue 1  

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