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Soccer News of Tuesday, 18 February 2003

Source: Dickson Kyere (Stugard)-Sunyani


The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has come under a barrage of criticisms following their inability to announce a substantive coach for the senior team, the Black Stars. Uncle Ben Koufie and his charges might have attended the same soccer school with the legendary Maradona as they (GFA) succeeded mesmerising all Ghanaians in a manner that Maradona himself would envy.

Of course Ghanaians were divided into three distinct groups - those for Manuel Gomes Concalves, the sympathisers of E. K. Afranie and the faithful of the outspoken German Burkhard Ziese. But one thing was very clear - a substantive coach must emerge after the interview.

In the run-up to the D-day, there were two distinct shades of opinions. Those are yet to recover from the shocking departure of Milan Zivadinovic were hell-bent on going for nothing but domestication. The man who calls the shots at the political/governmental level, Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Edward Osei Kwaku, has been leading the crusade in that direction.

To him, the coachhene, E. K. Afranie, possesses arsenals to compete at the highest level of global soccer. On the other side of the boat is the FA capo, Ben Koufie, and his charges. The FA boss, candid as he is, hasn't hidden his preference for an expatriate coach. According to him, if England, the home of football, has done away with her pride and arrogance to go for a coach from a less-endowed soccer nation like Sweden, why not Ghana?

A cross-section of Ghanaians Chronicle spoke to were not happy about the failure of GFA to announce a substantive coach. An angry soccer enthusiast screamed, "if you can't appoint a new coach, then confirm Afranie".

A senior colleague, Kwabena Yeboah of Africa Sports and Sports Highlight's fame in a chat with Michael Oti Adjei of Joy Fm was not happy about the turn of events. He questioned the modalities used by the panel and wondered whether someone is not pulling strings somewhere.


Ghanaians were skeptical and tongues never ceased wagging from day one when Manuel Gomes, Burkhard Ziese, Afranie and Razak were short-listed out of the fourteen applicants. If the FA has consistently propagated the idea of hiring an expatriate coach why short listing Afranie and Razak in the first place? Or was it a 'BALANCING ACT', 50-50 for Ben Koufie and Hon. Edward Osei Kwaku, respectively?

According to the panel only Burkhard Ziese made the mark but could not be offered the job because of his past conduct with the FA a decade ago. Is it not this very FA that screamed to the whole world after the bizarre exit of Zivadinovic that the background of prospective coaches would be thoroughly investigated?

We were made to know that the FA had written to FIFA, UEFA and all the football associations that the coaches had previously worked for. Good work done! So the FA was able to do all these but could not check on the records from their own nose (Ghana) for information on Ziese? Highly incredible! These are some of the things that lend credence to the public perception that there was a calculated scheme to offer the job to the L-Sporto sponsored Gomes.

The President, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, could not have said it better when he expressed his indignation about the low achievement in the field of sports, and for that matter the passion of the nation - football, during his sessional address to Parliament.

Who then wears the crown? My good friend, Charles Kwaku Asamoah, is putting his CV together to apply for the job. Who knows, perhaps he will be the coach for the Black Stars. If we need to catch those who are walking, we need to run!