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Sports Features Wed, 13 Feb 2013

NDC, lessons to be learned from Black Stars’ AFCON fiasco

Yet again the Black Stars pulled a fast one on unsuspecting Ghanaians--- raising their expectations for a 5th cup of nations triumph--- then breaking their hearts. But one could also agree that, this abysmal performance of the Stars could have been avoided if the right considerations had been taken. From the word go in their first match against DR Congo, it was evidently clear that the Stars lacked an inspiration from within. They then struggled to win their second game against Mali via a Wakaso penalty kick. It was their flattering display against hapless Niger in the last group game that Ghanaians took them to confidence which was only sustained by breathtaking performances from the new boys in town, Fatau Dauda and Mubarak Wakaso when they engaged a more superior Cape Verde in the quarter finals. The rest is so upsetting to remind Ghanaians of.

But could there be any lessons all Ghanaians including my beloved National Democratic Congress (NDC) could learn from this AFCON fiasco? Certainly yes. “ We are Better together”.

Just as in the NDC, disunity within the Black Stars has been an open secret with our executives doing little or nothing about it. When the Stars fumbled at the Gabon & Equatorial Guinea a year ago, their poor run was attributed to certain players using juju to outperform their teammates. Leading to the 2013 AFCON, the captainship of the team had been the leading issue with many calling for Dede Ayew while some succeeded in projecting our perennial “heartbreaker” yet “indispensable” Asamoah Gyan.

One could therefore see from an angle that, in order to curtail any disunity in camp, it was ill-conceived that Andre Ayew be dropped from the squad. So when the unsuspicious Ayew tarried in France for medicals, Kwesi Appiah was hastily rushed by the “mafias” that be, to close the doors on our most influential player in recent years. The former BBC footballer of the Year.

If Ghanaians would agree with me, a Black Star with the Ayew brothers and Kelvin Prince Boateng could have been more rewarding to the tax payer than the team that represented the nation in South Africa. To borrow the words of Samuel Osei Kuffour, “A half- fit Dede Ayew is better than some of the Players”. It is time our football administrators know that, the Black Stars is for Ghanaians and not a club team to be run to suit the interest of certain egos. There abound differences when people come together and it behooves them (authorities) to find solutions to whatever differences that may arise with the national interest in mind.

Ghana thought it could do well without some of its best players. Similarly, NDC and Ghana also often think they can do fine by consciously ignoring some of their best comrades who may be in the Diaspora. So, in recent years, NDC and Ghana have not found much for such talents as Dr K.Y. Amoako, Dr Ibn Chambas or Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, causing them to spend much of their time outside the country. The country often likes to pretend that they do not need most of the estimated 2 million Ghanaians who have gained great expertise outside the country, as surgeons and engineers in Germany, designers in Italy, IT experts in Silicon Valley, financial engineers on Wall Street and in the City of London, city administrators in Pretoria and Canberra, business managers in Singapore, and university professors all over Europe. Yet we need them. That is why many of these Diaporeans judge what value the country puts on their expertise by how they treat those like Spio-Garbrah who left high paying jobs at the World Bank, African Development Bank and more recently the CTO to return home to help? Can Ghana use such people, or should they always return to international jobs where their value is better recognized?

Let’s not forget, the Ayew brothers were scoring goals in France when the Black Stars were looking for penalties to win their games in South Africa.

Now, to my NDC leadership, the Stars performance in South Africa should give us a wake-up call that, we are better together, stronger together and we must know that, in unity we stand.

In the wake of Victor Smith being dropped as Eastern Regional Minister and some linking his snub to his outburst when His Excellency Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur was nominated as Vice –President, I want to remind the party leadership that, expressing perceptive views should be our benchmark for democracy, thus it must be tolerated, although I understand that many people prefer that in any party disagreements with those in authority should ideally be in private and not in public. But I trust the President to have a major role for Victor Smith in a different sector of government.

Also, the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC to disqualify Kofi Adams from contesting the Buem seat on the party’s ticket is one that beat my imagination. I wonder why a party trying to solidify its popularity and strength still deny solid and proven personalities for leadership roles just as we saw with the Black Stars. Shall we not be stronger if we put aside this vindictiveness and let bygones be bygones. At least, Kofi Adams although suspended, is doing better promoting the NDC positively than those receiving fat salaries and only projecting themselves. This unfortunate disqualification facilitated by Asiedu Nketia only denied the people of Buem a competent and an astute representation.

We in the NDC can still boast of some of the best personalities the nation can offer in politics and who seem to be watching from afar for one reason or the other. Shall we not be better together with all our strong members?? Where are the Martin Amidus , Ekwo Spio Garbrahs, Kofi Adams, Ama Benyiwa- Does, Akua Dansuas, Richard Quarshigahs, Nii Lantey Vanderpuyes, Tony Lithurs, Ofosu-Ampofos, Donald Adeberes, Baba Kamaras, Larry Adjeteys, Joseph Yammins and the others?? In as much as I believe we do not need all of them to form a government, a few, especially, Martin Amidu and Spio –Garbrah, have duly performed very well while working in past governments and have endeared themselves to Ghanaians across party lines. Their expertise in strategic technical and policy decision making could be very useful. And the key to remember is that, just like the Ayew Peles and Mike Essiens, each prominent person in the NDC also has their supporters who look to the President to see how he treats their heroes in the Party. When our heroes are ill-treated, the President loses popularity within the Party or among the general populace, but may not know until another election or Congress.

As the President still has appointments to make into strategic areas: Diplomatic Missions, CEOs, Deputy Ministers, Board Memberships, etc. let him be mindful of the heartbreak the Black Stars meted out to Ghanaians when they left our best performers out of the squad to South Africa while settling scores.

The President has done so well and must be commended for uniting the party but there is an adage in EWE which literary means “when you kill a snake you need to cut off the head as a guarantee that it is dead”. President Mahama should kill the snake of exclusiveness, they against us, and be allowed to eschew all the past differences some of our leaders have with some executive members and bring on board our proven and competent members. He should resist the bad advice of some people who can never stand for any election but always try to become co-Presidents when someone else has won. He should resist those who always say: “Don’t appoint this man or woman”, just because of their own insecurities. They did it to Prof Mills, but President Mahama must stand strong.

It is only in this united front that, the party will not be found wanting as did the Black Stars when the day of accountability comes in 2016.

Or we ignore the cries of the footsoldiers and go the Black Stars way; even minnows like the PPP will be too much for us to contend with in 2016.

“A word to the wise is enough”

May God give Ghanaians the strength to endure the pain until such times the Black Stars have the opportunity to atone for the disgrace they brought complemented by Tunisian Referee Slim Jdidi’s madness.

God Bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.

By: Justice Dansu Norvor
Source: Norvor, Justice Dansu