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Sports Features of Thursday, 29 December 2011

Source: Owusu, Joseph

Ghana Football Mafia: GFA/Serbian Agent Collusion?

There is a credible speculation of a GFA/SERBIAN Agent collusion (kind of a football Mafia) that goes like this: A Serbian football agent that recruits Serbian coaches for the Black Stars also manages some Ghanaian players. Such players get to play on the national team (regardless of their performance) because the appointed Serbian coach who is part of the network ensures the success of the players whose market value and opportunity to be picked up by top European teams depend on their Black Star selection. In return, the big cats at the GFA get kickbacks from hiring Serbian coaches and from the success of Serbian managed Ghanaian players.

So Prince Tagoe gets to make national team selection consistently even though a second rate Bundesliga team had to let him go for nonperformance, and he has been the weakest link on the Black Star team any time he has played. Coach Plavi says he appreciates his work rate and justifies Tagoe’s inclusion in the final 25 players to play in the next African Cup on that fact alone. If work rate is the sole criteria for Black Star selection, then many hardworking Ghanaian farmers who can till the soil from dusk to dawn nonstop should make first team Black Star selection. Or even better, Plavi should go to Ghana’s boxing capital at Bukom to recruit Bukom Banku and co. Tagoe simply doesn’t have the football skill required to play for the mighty Black Stars.

Why am I saying this rumor is credible? Our last four coaches have all been Serbians. This has never happened in any nation's football history -- and certainly not Ghana's.

Now if this is true we have dysfunctional and unscrupulous leadership at the GFA and that's dangerous for the future of Ghana football. Just consider the short term impact -- we deny players that should make the team the chance to play and by so doing weaken the Black Star team. In addition, such a miscarriage of fairness will eventually dampen player morale and nibble away at the unity and strength of the national. Even though it's all speculation at this point (such allegations are impossible to prove anyway), the warnings signs are starring us in the face like big graffiti on a billboard.

Blind followers of this administration will as usual dismiss such concerns as nothing but a witch-hunt. But fair-minded Ghanaian football fans with no ax to grind but are rather are motivated first and foremost by the success of Ghana football ought to be concerned. A word to the wise is in the direction of Tamale, as we say we say jokingly in Ghanaian parlance.