Character and talent go hand-in-glove, Rev. Osei Kofi

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Sat, 3 Jan 2015 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

I dearly love and respect the man Rev. Osei Kofi (actually Kofi 'Sei in Akan nominal parlance, to be certain). I even met him once during the early 1980s in the company of my elder maternal cousin, the then-Cpl. Kwame Sintim-Aboagye (better known as Cpl. Aboagye or Kwame Aboagye), of the Sofoline Police Station, in the northern section of the South-Suntreso Estates, near the Kwadaso roundabout. My cousin recently retired as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), having been once named as Ghana's Chief Detective.

The legendary Ghanaian soccer star had not been in the priesthood for very long. Those were the heydays of Pastor Amoako and his Bellam (or Bethlehem) Prayer Group, of which I was a staunch and passionate neophyte and acolyte. There was also Evangelist Douglas Frimpong, of course, for whose Christian newspaper I would write and have published a poem or two. Those were also the apex days of the Rev.-Dr. Riverson, of the world-famous Kumasi Wesley Teachers' Training College. I was an "A"-Level student at Prempeh College. There was also one of the Kyerematen brothers who kept close company with Evangelist Frimpong. Today, I hear he is the quite fiery preacher and pastor of a church somewhere in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I make all these rambling preliminary remarks because I was quite taken aback, recently, when I came across a short news item in which the pioneering member of the Black Stars' 1965 African Nations' Cup winning team was reported to have admonished the leadership of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to reconsider its indefinite suspension of the AC-Milan midfielder, Mr. Sulley Muntari. Mind the dear reader, it was not the Rev. Osei Kofi's admonishment per se that piqued my astonishment, but rather the pretext upon which such advice was based.

We must also hasten to point out that since he was summarily expelled from the Black Stars for savagely assaulting a management official of the team's Brazil 2014 World Cup contingent by the name of Mr. Moses Armah Parker, the former Ghana Liberty Professionals soccer-team player has yet to publicly apologize for his gross misbehavior. Not that any form of apology, or number of the same, would any appreciably mitigate such inexcusable deportment. But, at least, it would have signaled the fact of Mr. Muntari's being amenable to the normative rules of globally acceptable civilized behavior.

Anyway, Rev. Osei Kofi's argument, at least as the same was widely reported by the media, is that in view of the fact that Mr. Muntari has been playing excellent soccer for Italy's AC-Milan football club since his infamous Brazil contretemps, some seven months ago, it would not be totally out of order for the snooty-assed Mr. Muntari to be reinvited to join the Black Stars in the latter's 2015 African Cup of Nations' tournament campaign.

Well, since the good old Rev. Osei Kofi and yours truly are both Ghanaians of Akan ethnic extraction and/or affiliation, maybe the best way to get my vehement disagreement through to him would be to refresh Rev. Osei Kofi's evidently graying memory bank with the following Akan maxim: "Beauty does not pay; it is character that matters." In the Akan original, it runs as follows: "Ahoofe nntua ka; suban papa na 'hia." I hope no petulant anti-Akan street brawler is going to write back accusing yours truly of tribalism or some such species of cultural identity tripe. The unpleasant fact of the matter is that Ghana's dominant cultural values and ethos are Akan-based, which is not to imply that other Ghanaian ethnic groups and cultures have not made any significant contributions to the collective.

The preceding notwithstanding, there is authentically a recognizable phenomenon known as Ghanaian culture that many of our friends and associates the world over have come to envisage and/or recognize as such. And it is logically for this reason that I vehemently disagree with Rev. Osei Kofi that merely because a world-soccer legend like Mr. Diego Maradona was notorious for refractory behavior does not automatically authorize Mr. Muntari to do the same. We are Ghanaians, not Argentinians; and behavior that is acceptable, or even deemed normal, in one country may not be necessarily acceptable in the other.

I also strongly believe that well-respected Ghanaian leaders like Rev. Osei Kofi ought to stay away from the scandalously inferior way of thinking that rude celebrity behavior is acceptable merely because many people in other countries tolerate the same. Such blind copycatting or "herd mentality" was not a household word in Ghana while I was growing up; and I am much younger than Rev. Osei Kofi.

On a personal note: Incidentally, the Rev. Osei Kofi pretty much reminds me of the late Mr. Joe Frazier, the inimitably humble and unassuming World Heavyweight Boxing great. I once met "Smokey" Joe at one of the branches of the Free Philadelphia Public Libraries, whose renowned and generous patron he was. Joe was wearing a well-tailored suit over an open-necked conservatively colored shirt and a pair of ordinary slippers. It was mid-summer, of course. But what was most striking about the man, just like the Ghanaian soccer legend, was the great ease with which fans, admirers and even total strangers flocked towards Smokey Joe. Like Rev. Osei Kofi, Mr. Frazier looked uncannily smallish to have been a world heavyweight slugger, much less one who once decked the Almighty Muhammad Ali flat down on his back.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

Jan. 2, 2015

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net ______________________________________________________________

Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame