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Sports Features of Friday, 25 August 2017


Men jostling for Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi’s post

File photo; GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi File photo; GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi

Happenings around the powerhouse of Ghana football hints of interesting times ahead as powerbrokers ponder a possible regime change under a new helmsman, come 2019.

The widely reported friction between incumbent Kwesi Nyantakyi and his current vice George Afriyie has given a new dimension to the future vacancy previously only seen as Mr Afriyie’s inheritance.

The projection that gave importance to Mr Afriyie in the scheme of the contest for the Ghana FA presidency was instigated by Mr Nyantakyi’s reported decision to quit the post when his current term expires in two years.

At a time when local football hardly elicits the unrestrained passion of its public, and is even viewed in some quarters to be on life support, it appears intriguing – if not ironic – that hordes of candidates have laid ambush to grab what Mr Nyantakyi has possessed since December 2005.

It has been argued that the recent gradual decline of the Black Stars alongside the dying interest in the local league have exposed Ghana’s shortcoming in football administration lately. Perhaps, it is the reason a few appear willing to jostle for the post to attempt redirecting the ship into safe waters.

But few would question the chances of the incumbent to claim another one-sided victory should he run again. And few would actually muster the courage to step in the ring with a man who has built a solid control over the “football people” in Ghana.

Mr Nyantakyi’s appeal, I believe strongly, remains intact among local stakeholders. He has maintained firm roots in the soils of Ghana football to the extent that even the supposed departures of former allies, Mr Randy Abbey and Fred Pappoe from his camp don’t seem to have impacted his overall stranglehold on Ghana football.

But his imminent departure, as we are told, could resurrect these names, alongside a few others in what could be a real competitive battle for the FA presidency.

While the trio of Papsey (as Mr Pappoe, one-time vice to Mr Nyantakyi, is better known in football circles), Mr Abbey (one-time spokesman of the GFA and Executive Committee member) and Mr Afriyie have good individual profiles, the emergence of Nana Yaw Amponsah, a constituent of Division One football, will add spice to the race and throw the contest open on a fair stage.

Mr Amponsah, though hardly the household name in Ghana, is quietly admired by his peers in the lower league, and his reputation as an astute administrator who is well connected in global football has not gone unnoticed.

As the founder and president of Phar Rangers, his colleagues in the second tier league form a sizeable constituency that can help deliver a major electoral victory.

And having brokered many foreign contracts for Ghanaian players, his office has become a virtual common hall for the many club owners, administrators, player agents and all others whose matters of interest cross his area of specialty.

What he has not got in terms of media publicity, he compensates for with a likeable personality and character, a genial disposition that has enabled him to dare to thread where many others fear to venture.

Also rumoured to have an interest is Dream FC president, Mr Kurt Okraku, Kurt’s communication skills and affability continue to shoot him up in football administration, but it is his closeness to and perceived support from Mr Nyantakyi that give him his biggest advantage.

Coming days will unravel it all!