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Ghana Sports in 2009: An Irreverent View

Thu, 17 Dec 2009 Source: Opoku, Christopher

Another sporting year is coming to an end and it is usually normal to take stock of what has gone on so far. This piece is however a light-hearted view of what went on this year, plus a bit of poking fun at certain personalities. It's all good natured though and I hope you have a good laugh reading this piece.

Did you realize that Black Stars coach Milovan Rajevac was sent to the stands during the African National Championships held in Ivory Coast in January? Ghana was then a goal down against Libya, but after his dismissal, Ghana leveled the score and in the next game, with Rajevac in the stands, Ghana won 3-0 against DR Congo. So how come his presence on the bench in the grand finale saw Ghana lose 0-2 to DR Congo? Was Lady Luck upset with us? Hmm, only God can tell

I had a call a few days ago from a famous auction house abroad, informing me that they were looking for the most expensive bin box in the world. I was a bit puzzled until I was informed that the said bin box was in Ghana and had been used in the first local ‘el-clasico’ of the calendar year. Then it hit me! The Zoom lion bin box which was allegedly used by a top Asante Kotoko official to collect GH¢820 from supporters when Hearts played Kotoko in Kumasi early this year, apparently was the one being referred to. I still haven’t gotten my hands on it yet and the auction house is still waiting, because it might fetch over £300,000 .

There are always arguments about which supporters’ group is the most passionate in Ghana. I will however have to take my hat off to members of Asante Kotoko circles, who braved the elements to demonstrate when former Kotoko boss, Sylvester Asare Owusu was banned from football for five years and accused of stealing the aforementioned GH¢820. In fact, they went through the rain to the Castle to deliver their petition. I wonder why they cannot extend the same passion when Kotoko is playing, and heaven knows that the Porcupine Warriors need it now more than ever, after slumping to thirteenth place on the league log…………..

When Kotoko lost to Hearts of Oak in the league in Kumasi, the then head coach of the Reds, Maurice Cooreman left the club soon after. After Kotoko avenged that defeat in Accra months later, the ‘Bill Clinton’ of Ghana football, Kosta Papic soon left his post as head coach of Hearts of Oak by ‘mutual consent’. That is the new term these days, but it just means you have been fired! Anyway, with Hearts of Oak’s recent victory over Kotoko in Accra, will Paa Kwesi Fabin also fall on his sword? Will he be fired or leave by ‘mutual consent’? We have to wait and see……….

Then we come to the man I call Honourable ‘Triple M’. Yes, the Member of Parliament for Asawase, Hon. Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, the brilliant young politician who was appointed Sports Minister. He seemed on his way to make a good mark, and I recall one fine Friday night when he invited most of us who are in the sports media to his house for a special soiree. Many who were with me that night will attest to the fact that there was a lot of meat (chinchinga) available. So eventually, when the Sports Ministry accountant accused him of trying to spend GH¢15,200 on meat, some of us refused to talk about the soiree for fear that we would be investigated. Soon, if you wanted to buy a stick of meat, you had to ask, ‘Please may I have one ‘Muntaka’ please?’ Apparently, that was also the case for baby clothes. In fact, someone I know almost branded his pampers ‘Muntaka World’ but stopped because he feared reprisals……..I almost forgot, the hit song ‘Ei Alhaji’ also experienced an upsurge in sales during this period.

One of the players Alhaji Muntaka clashed with during his short term of office was Sulley Muntari. In fact, the war of words between the two men emanated from issues regarding match bonuses. Who can forget when his mum told a Kumasi-based radio station that, “No Sulley, no Black Stars.” Well, sources close to this writer seem to suggest that soon, Milovan Rajevac may select a ‘no Black Stars team’ for Angola. Well, I will be one of the first persons to listen to what Muntari’s mum would have to say if it happens……………………..

Lots of regards to the former chairman of the Ghana Boxing Authority, Moses Foh Amoaning. Moses, I sincerely hope that you have fully recovered from the bruises you suffered when you were unceremoniously replaced. I have learnt that you have taken up a new job; as an unofficial English teacher. In fact, I heard you give lessons to the new GBA Vice-chairman Jonas Ahene Truly on how to use the word ‘come’ and in fact you had to correct him when he said, ‘When did it came?’ Kudos to you and I probably might contact you for further elocution lessons……………

Speaking of which, since Moses’ exit, Ghana’s two World boxing champions have both lost their titles and we will enter 2010 without a title holder, which is why I would like to present to the GBA, a likely title contender, Mohammed Alhassan, the National Organiser of the National Chapters Committee of Hearts of Oak. He is a brilliant chap, but has the uncanny ability to start a fight in an empty room. Verbal bouts with Sabahn Quaye and Azeez Haruna Futah on live radio give indications to his ability and perhaps the present GBA executives might do well to take a look at him. He could become a new World Champion in 2010 (tongue in cheek).

I know we all complain that life is hard these days, but Premier League referees might see things a little bit differently. The rumours that club officials try to bribe such referees to handle matches in the Premier league refuse to go away and then the big announcement came. The President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwasi Nyantakyi has told the referees to ‘collect the money and do the right thing’. Well, it simply means, ‘When the club officials come, take the bribe, but do your job properly. After all, there is no receipt for such a transaction.” It looks like unwitting club owners are helping referees better their lot financially without getting anything out of it. Just like using counterfeit money to buy weed………..

Not so long ago, a football enthusiast, Kojo Bonsu raised a concern that a statutory body of the GFA, the Public Interest Committee (PIC) had yet to be formed. Well Mr Bonsu, that is indeed a valid concern that you raised and it is good that you raised it, but did you have to run away from the studios of Asempa FM when the GFA Spokesperson, Randy Abbey tried to have a debate with you on the issue? Was something chasing you, or were you attempting to challenge Usain Bolt’s 100m record? If you have the courage to raise such valid concerns, then you should have the stomach for a debate, unless your stomach is also running…………

At the recently held World Cup draw, we are told that there were ‘two delegations’ from Ghana. One included the GFA bigwigs and the Sports Minister, Rashid Pelpuo. The other one had politicians and a senior journalist in tow. The senior journalist? Kwesi Pratt. Surprised? Well, we are told that he was there to study the ‘socio-economic impact’ the first African World Cup would have on the continent in general and Ghana in particular. Are we playing football or preparing a thesis? Kojo Bonsu also mentioned on Joy FM’s FrontPage programme that one of the things he went to South Africa to look at is security. Wow! Things are getting interesting. At this rate, football will be fully militarized in Africa. Apparently, most of the bigwigs who were part of the ‘second delegation’ had to watch the draw from the comfort of their hotel rooms. So was there the need for some of them to travel? Should certain people be hauled before the Public Accounts Committee in parliament? We have to wait oooooo ..

Finally, if you are a player for the Black Stars, listen up. It seems if you want to mess about or misbehave, then all you have to do is to make sure you have $5000 saved up for every indiscretion you want to commit. The money, I am told will be donated to charity. This is great news for charitable concerns and I can’t help feeling that the likes of the Osu Children’s Home amongst others would be hoping for further acts of indiscipline on the part of the players so that further donations will keep pouring in

Season’s greetings to all, including the subjects of this article. It’s all in good fun and I will soon be back with the serious stuff……..

Source: Opoku, Christopher