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Sports Features of Friday, 8 August 2014

Source: Daniel Kosi Senyo

The GOC; a Lesson for Ghana Football

At the onset of the new government in 2009, various political actors in the government waged an incessant campaign to cause a change at the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC). The Olympic Committee was then headed by Mr. B.T Baba and these neo political forces were bent on using whatever force and power they could command to get rid of the old GOC administration.

Offices were locked up, security agencies were ordered to investigate the GOC, a parallel administration headed by the government’s favored persons like Prof. Francis Dodoo was set up and several other moves were initiated with the sole aim of getting out the existing GOC administration. Eventually, these acts of Governmental interference attracted a ban from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

These direct actions meant to frustrate and overthrow forcibly the B.T. Baba administration aside, other covert schemes were set in motion. Journalists were recruited and given concocted stories to put out about how the B.T. Baba administration was the most corrupt administration of any kind since the creation of man and how B.T. Baba had become a dictator at the GOC. Till date, not a single charge or evidence has been put out to substantiate the charges of corruption which were so loud in the days of the movement to get rid of the then GOC. He was accused of virtually making himself a permanent head of the body even though the truth was that his mandate had been legitimately acquired per the prevailing rules of the GOC.

In the minds of the general public, these journalists and their paymasters were successful in painting fertile images of a GOC headed by ‘monsters’ like B.T. Baba and Sandy Osei Agyemang who were sucking the very blood of the people of Ghana. B.T. Baba and his administration were also branded not only as corrupt but as the most incompetent and clueless sports administrators Ghana and Africa had ever seen.

In short, the usurpers were the angels who were trying to rescue the helpless GOC from the monsters who had taken control over the body. Once the monsters were cleared, we could look forward to a new era for Ghana sports with Ghana bagging dozens of medals and becoming a true giant in Athletics and other sporting disciplines, we were made to believe.

But here we are today. Eventually, the all-powerful political actors were able to achieve what they moved so greatly for. B.T Baba and his administration were deposed and the angels led by Francis Dodoo were ushered albeit legitimately into office.

Since then it has been an unending decline for Ghana athletics and the other sporting activities – from the Maputo Games where Ghana performed shamefully, through to the London Olympics which was another absolute disaster with Ghana failing to win a single medal to the latest disgrace, the Commonwealth Games where Ghana only finished above three tiny islands on the medal table; fielding 107 athletes and winning only two bronze medals.

The Judo team had to compete in the Commonwealth Games with borrowed jerseys, the athletics coach, Albert Nukpeza was deposed barely hours to the games and had no hand in selecting the athletes who made the final team to the games. There was total mayhem in our participation at the Games.

Interestingly enough, there seems to be a complete replay of the GOC incidents today but this time targeted at the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

Since our troubled campaign in Brazil, some political actors have managed to create the impression that Ghana Football is all but dead and that our elimination in the first round in Brazil is the worst thing to have happened to Ghana football despite the fact that Ghana only qualified for its first world cup in 2006 and has participated in only 3 World Cups till date; and despite the fact that other more established countries like Italy, England, Portugal, Spain, France, Spain, USA, Argentina, Uruguay, etc. all fail to qualify for the World Cup or end up being knocked out in the first round from time to time.

For a country that until 10years ago could only wish it could participate in a World Cup however, and which has since managed to get to a second round and a quarterfinal, being kicked out in the first round is suddenly an abomination which calls for the head of everyone at the same GFA which managed after 50 years of independence to qualify us to the World Cup and which has supervised our qualification to three successive World Cups, two out of which, we have qualified from the Group Stages and narrowly missing a semi-final spot.

The apostles of revolution wielding political power are at it again; they with the help of their pay servants in the media have again managed to create an image of Draculas at the GFA who have destroyed Ghana football, though the evidence points to the contrary. They have been called thieves though no evidence has been adduced, just like happened to B.T. Baba and they have been accused of keeping too long at the FA, whatever that means.

The politicians are once again bent on getting what they want in football administration. This time it is not Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, who led the GOC raid; this time it is even higher up - Regional Chairmen of the ruling party, National executives of the ruling party and several other officials, busily scheming and swearing to orchestrate change at the FA so that their preferred man, in this case, a certain Randy Abbey, can take over.

My caution is simple; I have absolutely no qualms if Kwesi Nyantekyi is deposed as GFA President, but for Football persons and those directly involved in the administration of football, the GOC experience is a lesson you should learn well – do not follow the machinations of these political forces. It is always good to learn from the experience of others than to suffer same and learn from it.

Daniel Kosi Senyo

Sports Fanatic

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