Game in Egypt: FIFA must be prudent and decisive to protect Ghanaians
By Kitson Evans
The prevailing political turmoil and football violence in Egypt as well as the possibility of Egypt’s elimination from being one of the five African representatives at the 2014 Brazil World Cup are recipes for disaster for visiting Ghanaian fans, if Federation International of Football Association (FIFA) insists of staging the return leg of Ghana versus Egypt World Cup qualifying playoff game in Egypt.
In recent years, countless of people have died in Egyptian Football games. The situation is so serious that the Egyptian Football League has been suspended indefinitely. In addition, all selected football matches such as the Egyptian National Team’s qualifying games and African Champions League games involving Egyptians teams have all been played behind closed doors.
The ongoing political and social upheaval in the Egypt has added fuel to the fire and resulted in many deaths. The prevailing social and political upheaval and uncertainty in Egypt pose severe threat to human lives and traveling football fans into the country are not assured of safety and security. With these security concerns, what is FIFA waiting for before moving the game from Egypt and scheduled it in another country? With regard to this issue, FIFA must be bold, decisive and prudent!!
In fact, the Egyptian Authorities nowadays cannot guarantee security and protection of lives and property. Therefore, the Authorities there cannot be relied upon to guarantee the security of traveling footballers and fans. As a consequence, FIFA has no choice but select another nation like Turkey, Jordan or Ethiopia to host the second leg of Ghana versus Egypt world Cup qualifying game.
Protection and preservation of lives are more important than a football game. It is just a game and it is not worth a single potential lost of a Ghanaian or an Egyptian life. I am sure Ghanaian players, football leadership, and the entire nation of Ghana rather miss the World Cup competition than see something happen to one of the players, the delegation or the fans.
I don’t believe that Egypt can ensure secure environment for the visiting Ghanaian delegation. Especially if Ghana qualifies to the World Cup on Egyptian soil and the Ghanaian fans starts jubilation, the Egyptian fans may react negatively and threaten the visiting fans.
If FIFA fails to act on this matter by moving the game from Egypt, the Ghanaian Football leadership will have no choice, but withdraw from this game to protect players and traveling fans from being caught in potential football or political violence. It is imprudent and foolhardy for Ghana to travel to Egypt under the current unsafe and risky environment existing in the country. Not a single drop of blood is worth qualification to the World Cup.
No one wants to sound alarmist, but what we are all witnessing in Egypt presents a common sense decision by the FIFA leadership. Potential elimination of Egypt from competing in the World Cup could serve as a harbinger for more political and football violence, which could result in unimaginable consequences and potential loss of lives.
Therefore, FIFA should exercise caution and prudence to protect officials and supporters from Ghana by moving the game from Egypt to Turkey, Jordan or Ethiopia. As the old adages go, “protection is better than cure” and “had I know is always at last.”
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