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Sports Features of Thursday, 19 January 2017

Source: Blege, Alex

Isaac Asiama and “proverbial frogs”; GFA and “proverbial lizards”

Alex Blege

There’re two proverbs that has given birth to the title above: “when a frog in front falls in a pit, others take caution”, and “all lizards lie prostrate, who can tell which one of them has belly ache; in time, the pain will make one of them turn on its back, and then the unknown shall be made known”

Isaac Asiama has been appointed the Minister of Youth and Sports designate. That’s good. I watched and listened with cocked ears as President Akuffo Addo read his profile. But, you know, a curriculum vitae (CV) is only a piece of paper until the owner proves to his or her employers what really the words mean.
I can’t doubt Isaac Asiama’s competencies. Who am I? By Jove, I can’t.

Since 2001, there’ve been so many allegations of “mafia” tactics against Ministers of Youth and Sports especially in the ministers’ dealings with the Ghana Football Association (GFA). Why does it have to be that a particular minister will have problems with only the GFA and not any other sports association? There’re problems with the others. But that of the GFA and Ministers of Youth and Sports is rife and acrimonious as compared to the others.

Do we eat football? No. For most men who’re not promiscuous, after their wives, football is the “extra-marital affair” they get engaged in; even those who’re promiscuous, football is one of their concubines who they most of the time love with all their minds and heart.

The lists of the proverbial frogs are Mallam A.Y. Issah, Alhaji Muntaka, and Nii Lante Vanderpuije. The only Minister of Youth and Sports who lasted long and seemingly didn’t have any issues with the GFA was Mr. E.T. Mensah. How he did it, only God knows. He was at post from March 1993 to January 6, 2001. Apart from him, the rest had lasted a year or two; Mallam Issah lasted for a month: February 2001 to March 2001, so much to learn, Mr. Isaac Asiama.

Those “proverbial frogs” can be a good source of knowledge. Don’t discount the idea of approaching anyone of them. Be tactical and diplomatic, but as much as possible be firm in dealing with all sports associations. Things must be done well – like Donewell Insurance says, “if it must be done, it must be done well”. Those ministers didn’t have problems with the GFA because they weren’t smart, but they didn’t thread cautiously while they sought to correct the perceived ills at the GFA.

Now to the GFA and proverbial lizards, yes it’s true that the FA seems so powerful. FIFA Statutes, Article 13 paragraph (i), obliges members to, “manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by third parties”, and Article 17, repeats the independence of members, “each member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties”. It’s jolly good. No third party interference. Why? In our part of the world where there’s so much political polarization, this couldn’t have been better.

However, not too long ago, things fell apart and the centre couldn’t hold – Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and a few others faced corruption charges and they had been banned from football for quite a number of years. There had been corruption allegations against these powerful officials over the years, but they called the bluff of those who peddled these allegations. Soon, all the pain of the belly ache caused the lizards to turn – the unknown was made known.

Over the last decade since Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi took the reins of power at the FA, there had been allegation of corrupt activities to the extent that the Economic and Organised Crimes Office tried to investigate, but they failed – the law swung in favour of the GFA – a judgment that many question.

The name of the game is evidence. The fact that, no irrefutable evidence has been found today may not mean that something fishy isn’t going on at the FA and among FA officials across the nation, but, as Robert Nesta Marley said, “time will tell”.

Time will tell, why and how the last elections that gave Nyantakyi the nod to continue as the FA President, was done behind closed doors, and time will tell what went into all the decisions that had been taken at the blind side of the real stakeholders – Ghanaians.

The writer is a freelance journalist.