Sports Features of 2014-08-04

The animal farm Ghana football association-change, a must!

On December, 30, 2005 then banker and lawyer, young Kwesi Nyantakyi defeated experienced football administrators, Ade Coke and Kojo Bonsu in an election to be become the President of the Ghana Football Association.

Before then, Ghana League Clubs Association, GHALCA, Chairman, J.Y Appiah who was Vice to the Dr Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe led FA had mounted a scatting battle to over-throw Dr Nyaho Tamakloe.

Mr. Appiah by dint of his position as Chairman of GHALCA became automatic Vice Chairman of the GFA per the structures at the time.

As a broadcast Sports Journalist with Kumasi-based radio Station, Kapital Radio at the time, Mr. J.Y told me in a live interview, “We will uproot Nyaho Tamakloe like cassava”. His mission was avowed. Ghana football had come to the cross-roads and there was the need for fresh blood with fresh ideas to bring about the needed change at the GFA.

My producers call up Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe to respond to Mr. J.Y Appiah’s stern stance.

“Gentleman, I have stepped down from the GFA as Chairman”. His announcement was exclusive on the sports programme. Moments after the show, the news went viral. Nyaho Tamakloe’s era as Chairman of the GFA, having been appointed by then President John Agyakum Kufour had ended. The decision was irreversible and therefore crying over the spilt milk of his shocked resignation was immaterial. What mattered was that, young Kwesi Nyantakyi, then Accra representative of WA All Stars will take over in an interim capacity. Thanks to the silkily schemed coup de Tate, muster-minded by Mr. J.Y Appiah and his coup makers. Kwesi Nyantakyi was to act till the elections on 30th December, 2005. He eventually became substantive President of the FA, haven been elected into office by an executive Committee of the FA.

The era of government appointing persons to head the FA was over, eventually limiting government involvement and or interference in Ghana Football

The GFA now commands power and absolute power to manage the affairs of the nation’s football. It was just a matter of time and the avid Ghanaian football addict would comprehend how the President has with time, become so power drunk so that those powers corrupts him.

His position epitomizes Shakespeare in his book Macbeth, “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”.

Shakespeare continues that “It is common knowledge that, it is human nature to crave power. Also, that the more power that is acquired the more power hungry someone would become, and with this power they become more and more corrupt. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth showed this throughout the entire play. There was strict relationship between the amount of power Macbeth obtained and the corrupt acts he committed. When Macbeth had no title, or only the title of his father, Thane of Glamis, he did not exhibit corruption……” Kwesi Nynatakyi and his clique of football mafia at the Ghana Football Association squarely fit! Yes under his Presidency, Ghana qualified for its foremost World Cup in Germany in 2006 where the Black Stars shocked the World having qualified from a tight group that included Italy, USA and Czech Republic.

Ghana made history again by winning the U-20 World Cup in Egypt, becoming the only Africa country to annex that diadem.

The nation made a second successive appearance in at the World Cup at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa qualifying through the group stages to the quarter-finals.

These monumental successes by the Kwesi Nyantakyi led GFA cannot be overlooked and will perpetually be credited to him but then comes Brazil 2014.

Brazil 2014 was Ghana’s third successive World Cup appearance. A lot was expected of the Black Stars by connoisseurs and pundits of the globular leather. Vociferous fans of the Black Stars looked up to the team to replicate its previous achievements from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups in Brazil but that was not to be.

Lo and behold, Kwesi Nyantakyi had peaked, gotten power drunk after filling his insatiable thirst for power in 2005 when he ascended the presidency. He had become the interim President of the West African Football Union after its President; Amos Adamu was suspended by the Federation of International Football, FIFA. And so on 31st May, 2011, he contested and was elected as substantive President of WAFU for a two year term. Nyantakyi stood unopposed in the November 2013 WAFU elections, retaining his seat for another 2-year term as President. He is also the President of the West African Football Union Zone B, a member of FIFA Associations Committee among other portfolios.

Obviously this man, at this point had become power drunk, so power drunk so that he sought to grab all other positions even within the local FA.

He suddenly had issues with his “comrades” and that marked the beginning of the fall of the Black Stars at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And this will raise his kingdom to the ground, thereby eroding his successes of the years.

Like George Orwell puts it in his book “Animal Farm”, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. He found the Likes of Randy Abbey, Fred Pappoe, Kudjo Fiano, Vincent Odotei, Neil Amstrong-Motagbe etc who had one good or the other to offer the GFA more of a threat to his seat than core assets to the nation’s football. Preferring t “gullible” friends who know not a “B” from a bull’s foot but merely parading the corridors of the GFA so he could manipulate same to cushion and consolidate his Presidency. Sports politics galore! All potentials to his seat are ardent and eminent enemies. His cohorts and boot-lickers have suddenly become more equal animals than other animals. To the extent that he reconstituted all management committees for the various national teams, according himself the Chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee ahead of the Brazil 2014 World Cup, clandestinely eliminating Mr. Fred Pappoe who held that position for the 2010 World Cup.

His decision to head the Black Stars Management Committee was his bane. It was the bane of the Black Stars at the World Cup. And it is the decision that will eventually break the camel’s back of his Animal farm leadership at the Ghana Football Association. The reasons why he would become the chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee can be conjectured by the Ghanaian football fun. Again, George Orwell gets it right, “Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” But it was never to be as hell broke loose at the World Cup. And as Nigerian Novelist Chinua Achebe in his revered book, “Things Fall Apart”, puts it “Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”.

Folks, the despicable fallouts from the World Cup are there for all to see as things fell apart because the centre of the greedy kingdom of the Nyantakyi leadership could not hold.

It all started with the budget for the World Cup. On 14th May, 2014, the Ministry of youth and Sports under reference number “WE 251/272/02 wrote to the Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Flagstaff House, Accra under the heading, “REQUEST FOR ADVANCE FOR GHANA’S PARTICIPATION IN THE 2014 WORLD CUP TOURNAMENT IN BRAZIL”. Signed by the Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, I reproduce the portions of the letter to advance this debate for the need for a change at the the GFA. “This is to respectfully inform you once again that, the Senior National Football team, the Black Stars, will participate in the 2014 FIFA World cup tournament scheduled to take place in Brazil, from 12 June to 13th July, 2014. As part of the measures by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to inspire the team, the Association has decided to pay the appearance fees and top up the qualification bonus of the players at each stage of the competition. The GFA has also decided to sponsor the trip of some additional persons who have critical or crucial roles to play in the competition.

However, as at now, the Association has no funds readily available to meet these expenses.

A total amount of fourteen Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Two thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty-One United States Dollars, Two Cents (US$14,729.821.2) will be required to pay the appearance fees and top up the bonus of the stars from the group stages to the finals.

A summary of the breakdown according to each stage of the tournament is as follows; Group (preliminary stage, GH4,122,297.60, Round of sixteen (1/16) Gh 1,713,691.60, Quarter finals, Gh 1, 944,783.60, Semi-finals, Gh2,041,162.80, Third place, Gh2,365,618.00, Final Gh2,605,267.60. Total Gh14, 792,821.20”. A careful look at the figures leave me wondering why the amount in words read United States American dollars and the figures of same amount in figures read Ghanaian cedis. With the above budget approved way ahead of the World cup, one cannot fathom why under the Chairman of the Black Stars management Committee and also the GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, the premium national team exhibited sheer humiliation and disdain at the World cup.

I have a feeling that, the Black Stars made a mess of the Corporate image of Ghana because of bad leadership under Kwesi Nyantakyi borne out of greed and thirst for power. Am not ready to re-write the setbacks that saddled the national team in Brazil because we all know the story. But to the extent that the players revolted on the nick of our make or break game against Portugal is unpardonable. So unpardonable so that we need a change at the GFA going forward. Multi-media, was lambasted for reporting the truth.

Folks, the animal farm Ghana football Association-Change, a must! The players were promised appearance fees of $75,000 before the national enplaned for Holland for the friendly against the Dutch national team. The team played the game without qualms. Eplaned Miami, USA for the game against Korea Republic, there were no qualms, Arrives in Brazil, play the USA and Germany, no qualms. Then we have the last necky group tie against Portugal and suddenly not only did the players demand payment of appearance fees but appearance of $100,000 and not the originally agreed $75,000. Government is forced to fly only heaven knows how many millions of United States American Dollars was flown to Brazil at the glare of the World.

My understanding is that, the players spent the whole night before the Portugal game counting $100,000 to be sure no one pulled some of the notes from their bundles of booty. They were also not sure of security at the team’s hotel so they carried the cash with them to the dressing rooms at the stadium. Locked the cash up in their lockers and it’s just common sense that as the boys played, their attention will be on the dressing rooms of the stadium and not the game. That explains why there was a sharp contrast between the game against Germany and Portugal.

And so Ghana became the laughing stock from the Brazil World Cup. The paparazzi made mockery of the nation. And from the Public Relations point of view, am not sure what magnitude of crisis management would resuscitate the image of Ghana. Not even the PR transfer process can salvage this PR dent. And that is course enough for worry.

Following the removal of the Sports Minister and his Deputy, obviously for their failed roles in the World Cup brouhaha, the new Sports Minister, Mahama Ayariga has exhibited some determination to revive the fortunes of sports, especially football. Even though I have strong reservations over the selection of the “60 eminent” persons to ponder the way forward, It shows a sense of desire to do something. Unfortunately the GFA president squared up with former CEO of Ghana’s oldest club, Accra hearts of Oak, Harry Zakkour and the rest is history. The President John Dramani Mahama set up a three-member committee to investigate the nation’s participation at the World Cup.

Dated Friday, 4th July, 2014, a Press Release under the heading, “3-man team to review Ghana’s participation in Brazil” it named Appeals Court judge, Justice Senyo Dzamefe as Chairman, Lawyer and Sports Administrator, Moses Foh Amoaning and Sports Enthusiast, Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko as the members.

The team had as its terms of reference to, inquire into matters relating to Ghana’s Black Stars’ team participation for the tournament and possible lapses therein which might have caused their early exit from the tournament, inquire into matters relating into the management of the Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament; inquire into matters relating to Ghana’s treatment of Ghanaian football fans who were sent to support the Black Stars by the Ministry of youth and Sports, advice government on the financing of activities of the Senior National team and other national teams and to inquire into all other related matters of public interest concerning the organization of Ghana’s Black Stars participation in the tournament.

The Committee had thirty (30) days to present their report. The new Minister gave the assurance that; “government will act on the recommendations of the committee”

The GFA agreed to appear before the committee to help unravel the setbacks that bedeviled the national team as a way of helping provide antidotes going forward into reviving the sport in Ghana.

Public outcry caused the President to change the status of the 3-man committee to a Presidential Commission of Inquiry. This Commission comes with automatic powers of the High Court of the land under the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Its recommendations from its finding after its investigations would be a judgment on its own.

Suddenly the GFA that had vowed to appear before the committee decides it won’t appear before the Commission. How suspicious!

The sudden U-turn by the GFA makes me smelt a rat. This I do because I feel they have something to hide. They sure do because they seem afraid of the Commission. Why do they run if they have nothing to hide? And that’s my worry. And that is why I smell not just a rat but a fat rat. And that’s why I feel there is the need for change. Change because, we need and deserve a transparent GFA administration.

Folks, it is time for a revolution into the affairs of the Kwesi Nyantakyi led GFA. Where is Mr. J.Y Appiah who led the campaign for the overthrow of Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe? Is what is good for the goose not said to be good for the gander? Mr. Appiah over to you and your coup makers sir.

I don’t care who leads the GFA but up till now I have enough course to believe that, the Animal Farm Ghana Football Association-Change, a must. I rest my case.

Folks, Sports is Huge!

Writer is Freelance Sports/Political Journalist Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalist Association. Lbukarson76@yahoo.com.

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Source: Listowell Yesu Bukarson
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