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Sports Features of Sunday, 17 August 2014

Source: Baah, Opanyin Yaw

Who Cries for GFA?


Ask: Opanyin Yaw Baah


The major fallout after Ghana’s 2014 Brazil debacle among the football fraternity has been an unending and unwarranted attacks, insults, bastardization and calling for the heads of the people at the helm of affairs at the GFA, as if they have committed the most heinous crime of the state to be led to the guillotine.

From the way we are behaving, some fear it will soon be difficult to get people to respond to calls for national duty because of the likely unpleasant consequences coming out of any failure to meet the expectation of the nation. As a concerned Ghanaian, I feel owning an onerous duty to touch on the above subject, though I do not know any of the characters involved.

The GFA President

As a nation with young President of 45, owning a Premium League Club, with such reputable background as a Lawyer and a Banker, Chairman of the Ethics Committee of CAF, he stands the chance of one day becoming Ghana’s/Africa’s Sarramanche or Sepp Blatter, given the necessary push and he being pervious to advice. Kwasi Nyantekyi has made such inroads in the global politics of football that, he is now counted among the few who are seen as credible possible candidates to earn membership into the Standing /Executive Committees of FIFA. I am not an advocate for perpetuation but I think, as a nation, we should always premise our argument on substance and fairness rather than other considerations, while particularly ensuring that sports is completely divorced from politics, judging by the experiences of the late Ohene Djan in 1966 and Nana Fredua Mensah in 1972.

To Kwasi, with your humble background from Kwaso/Wa,it should havedawned on you, that there was no need to have ferried your wife and two children in the same plane with the players and other executives on board to Brazil.To me, you failed the litmus test of leadership by example; that he who wants to rule must first learn to obey.

But being a human being, you are fallible. And since your act does not constitute anything bordering on malfeasance or incompetence, I think you should be goaded on to continue to offer your services to the nation.

GFA Executive/Management With Messres Fred Pappoe, Emmanuel Kyeremeh, Moses Armah, Fred Crenstil, George Afriyie, Kojo Fiano, Papa Ansong, Yaw Boateng Gyan and others, could any sincere Ghanaian say such football Administrators are men of straw and just boarded plane to Brazil because of the allowances/perdiem? Anyone who delves into the background of these people will come to the conclusion that they have made it in their own “small world.”But, from the patriotic point of view, these men could have forgone these allowances to avoid the unwarranted attacks on them.

National Coach

To Akwasi, Sunyani born/Kumasi bred, you have the best chance of defying global football voodoo that great players have never been great coaches if you could overcome two main things I consider to be your Achilles Heels. Firstly, you appear to be a bit impervious to advice, as evidenced in your decision to repeat the mistake of 2013 African Cup of Nations tournament by playing your most creative player/ball juggler/schemer in the person of Juventus Kwadwo Asamoah at the heart of defence. The western media, especially Great Britain, commented extensively on this after you had failed to add him to the attacking machinery to which he is greatly used in Europe.

Secondly, you appear to be a bit hesitant in taking critical decisions. But bear in mind that just like a lawyer or a doctor whose client/patient is on the verge of facing long term sentence/death, you should always be fast on your feet. However, Akwasi deserves a pat on the back for qualifying Ghana for the 2013 African Cup of Nations and the World Cup against all odds, as well as for Ghana’s total annihilation of Egypt, considered as the best football nation in Africa,by that unprecedented goal margin which was touted in the western press as one of Ghana’s greatest feats, just as Ghana’s 2:2 drawn game with Germany in the World Cup was seen as the best game of the tournament.

The Reality

Let us all accept and admit that gone were the days when we held our chest out as the Brazil of Africa and a mightier football nation globally. When was the last time Ghana won a silver wire? This was in 1982. Since then, all attempts by the national team to annex this continental trophy have all been fiasco. However, I must confess that the junior teams have lived up to expectation.

The Way Forward

a. Commission

Ghana as a sovereign nation has every right to set up a commission to investigate and seek ways to arrest the declining fortunes of our football. However, I would like to caution that Articles 13 and 17 of FIFA statutes which are directly applicable to the domestic laws of all national associations are well preserved and respected.

b. Governing Council

By this, I am proposing something akin to the Council of State in our Governance setup under the constitution,but this one with the bullet to bite. The main object/function of this proposed council will be to act as a buffer of knowledge, wisdom, expertise, etc for both players and managers of national teams and further play a mediation role in the management of football.

The membership should include all living past chair of GFA; two representatives of old players of two categories (i.e. old players from the era of post-independence to 1980s and those from post 1980s to date); two sports writers (one from the old era and the emerging era), who are touted globally as the unseen rulers of modern football; one representative from the referees association; and from others to be recommended.

c. Discipline/Reconciliation

No serious football nation ever countenance indiscipline. It is against this background that Argentina left behind their greatest player after Messi in the person of Trevor Tavez of Juvuntus. Samir Nasiri of France/Manchester City also suffered the same fate.

It is in the same vein that I condemn the uncalled for behavior of Sulley and Kevin at the World Cup.

However, with Sulley’s case, there is a plea of mitigation judging by his patriotic response to national calls. He has never turned his back on Ghana, even in times of injury.Per our customary parlance, we say “Ko nsuo nabo ahina”, to wit, the one who fetches the water is the one who breaks the pot. Sulley overcame that moment of madness, just after the tournament. Anger is always “short madness”. So, let us lead him to say sorry to his uncle Parker and get him into the fold again. For he has been a role model to our young, talented Muslim boys in the team, especially those in Europe, such as Wakasu, Rabieu, Mineru, Fatau Dauda and others.

d. The German Way

In concluding, I will recommend that any long-term football development should be the German way which is modeled on the Charter for Talents works of Ray Walkinson, the great teacher /manager of Leeds United fame, who lifted the last English championship trophy before the advent of premiership in 1994.

The model, borrowed by the Germans, today speaks volumes of its achievements. As a result of this model concept, outof the 23-team squad of 2010 that whipped Argentina 4 nil, 18 were products of this model, then 12 members again resurfaced at Brazil 2014 and did the trick again.

Finally, I want to say all is not lost and there is hope for Ghana’s football, given the raw talents still in abundance. What needs to be done is to adopt the newly emerging football renaissance concept as being practiced in other jurisdictions.

The writer is a private Legal Practitioner and a FIFA football Agent.