Sports Features Sat, 1 Oct 2016

#The_records_behind #nyantakyi's achivevement

Congratulations to Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi after becoming part of Fifa's new executive council. But is he the first Ghanaian to achieve that feat or serve at that highest position as reported by several top football websites, television stations, newspapers and radio stations? .... No!

Former Ghana Football Association president Ohene Djan, then 37 years, rose through the ranks to become part of Caf's executive committee member and was later serving on Fifa's executive committee to represent Africa as Vice president.... please note that executive committee and executive council are the same just a changed in name and number of people on it.

In 1964, Djan led the boycott of the 1966 World Cup hosted and won by England. 1n January 1964, Fifa decided the line-up for the 16-team (only 16 countries participated at the world cup at that time) finals would include 10 teams from Europe, including hosts England, four from Latin America (i.e. South America) and one from the Central American and Caribbean region. That left just one place to be fought for by three continents: Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Within a month, Ohene Djan, Ghana's then Director of Sports and also a member of the Fifa's executives committee, cried foul.

The Ghanaian drafted a telegram and sent it to the world's football governing body, condemning the decision and calling it *"pathetic"*. Djan challenged Fifa to think twice the decision since it was unrealistic for Afro-Asian countries to go through the exercise, struggling through painful and expensive qualifying series for *only one slot*.


Former Ethiopian football administrator, Yidnekatchew Tessema joined hands with Djan to propagate the crusade to get Africa its own slot or boycott the 1966 World Cup.

The duo did everything the could to present Africa's case but Fifa did not adhere to their case and went on with the World without Africa. Although, they initially failed, their actions were rewarded four years later since Africa had one slot for the 1970 World Cup for the first time.Today, Africa has five representatives and it can improve to seven in the coming years.

Let me also remind my colleagues that another Ghanaian, Nana Fredua Mensah was on the verge of becoming the second person to be on the Fifa executive committee after Ohene Djan almost three decades ago. However, he was sabotaged by then government on the eleventh hour. A day before the elections in Yaounde, Cameroon, Fredua travelled with the late Major Lamptey on the same aeroplane to the event. Surprisingly, Major had with him a brown envelope containing a letter from government to nullify Fredua's candidature and that he should be replaced with *Kate Caesar*, who was the Ghana FA president then and because of this power struggles, Ghana lost the chance.

Goal.com's Evans Gyamera-Antwi congratulates Kwesi Nyantakyi for breaking the jinx after over 40 years.

Follow on Twitter @Ashesgyamera

Source: Evans Gyamera-Antwi