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Sports Features of Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Source: Joe Aggrey/Finder Sports

Kwasi Appiah’s moving, selfless gesture

A small, almost inconspicuous news item in one of the dailies caught my attention last week. It was just two paragraphs and the headline read: From Appiah To Attuquayefio, RENFAG. The story itself simply said Black Stars coach Kwasi Appiah has extended financial support to two ailing coaches, ‘Sir’ Cecil Jones Attuquayefio and Emmanuel Quarshie, both former players of the senior National team, and the retired footballers’ body.

Of course, the fact that Appiah, who is also a former captain of the Black Stars, has decided to come to the aid of his two senior colleagues, isn’t really what drew me to the story, even though that in itself was quite remarkable. But, what was even more heart-warming was the realization that the money involved was the cash attached to an insurance package offered Appiah by the Glico Group, which he promptly decided to give away to those who need it more.

For me, it isn’t the amount involved that matters; it is the thought behind it that has bowled me over. In this age and times when money means so much to some people that they would do anything, including ‘sakawa’, cheat and even kill for it, Appiah has shown a rare streak of humanity and selflessness.

I’m sure that the coach isn’t so rich that he wouldn’t have had any personal use for the amount of money he so readily gave away. I think it is something in his character that drove him to make that selfless gesture. Here was somebody, who until he became the national coach recently, was receiving a salary that many thought was an affront to his position as an assistant coach. And yet, never once did he come out to complain publicly about his situation.

Indeed, after his promotion to the top job, all the noise about how unfairly he had been treated in terms of emolument came from people who believed that he should have been paid the same salary and other allowances as his predecessor, who incidentally was an expatriate.

Never a man to rave and rant publicly about his condition of service, it is believed that whatever are his emoluments now were the result of quiet negotiations and he must be satisfied with his lot. I guess it is in that atmosphere of quiet satisfaction that he is undertaking the job of leading the Black Stars as the first indigenous coach after a long spell of Ghana’s romance with a string of foreign trainers.

Compare that to the coach of the Black Princesses, Mr. Sackey, who in the midst of the Women’s Under-20 World Cup in Japan was complaining about his outstanding allowances. I was wondering how he was concentrating on his job whilst his mind was on monetary matters. I understand even before the tournament, the coach and his players threatened to boycott a training tour if some winning bonuses were not paid.

Is it any wonder that the Princesses failed to go beyond the group stages of the World Cup? Without the peace of mind borne out of a deep sense of satisfaction, concentrating on the job at hand obviously became a hazardous affair.

Of course, in all this a lot also depends on the demeanour of the individual. That is what perhaps puts the Kwasi Appiahs of this world apart from the rest. On behalf of the beneficiaries—‘Sir’ Jones Attuquayefio, Emmanuel Quarshie and RENEFAG—I say a big thank you for your benevolence. May the good Lord richly bless and reward you as the coach of the Black Stars.

And I think congratulations are in order after last Saturday’s 2-0 win against gritty Malawi in the African Cup of Nations qualifier. Hopefully, the ticket for the finals will be secured in the second leg even though Appiah and his boys should expect a tough fight from the Flames before they are finally extinguished.