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Opinions of Friday, 1 November 2013

Columnist: Agyemang, Nana Kwaku

It won’t make any difference!

I wouldn’t for a moment underestimate the dangers that exist in a politically unstable country as Egypt right now. And I doubt that the powers that be within FIFA have sat back to do the same either. It is a serious period of political and economical instability that not only threatens Egypt but which could easily spread to other parts of the North of Africa.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has made many calls and indeed continues to make calls for the shifting of the World Cup return leg clash between Egypt and Ghana from Cairo the capital of Egypt. Cairo has been the scene of political tension and unrest for the best part of two years and currently shows no signs of abating.

Whilst the Egyptian authorities maintain that these are isolated incidents in a city that is by and large going about its lawful business on a daily basis the GFA remains unconvinced about the genuine nature of the claims being made. In fact the Ghanaian Embassy itself has not come out to share the same concerns, publically remaining silent on a whole.

Recent reports that followed centered around the beatings of Ghanaians currently living in Egypt stemming from the 6-1 thrashing a fortnight ago has itself also been denied by the Ghanaian Embassy, so why the hue and cry?

With a commanding 6 goal lead going into the 2nd leg is not formality but remains an acute possibility of being overturned by any stretch of the imagination; unless the Ghana black Stars decide to sleep during the match! If we continue to make the call for the intervention of FIFA can also have a negative effect on our players and potentially fill them with undue fear when there is no need.

The world over is under the threat of terrorist strikes yet no one harbors any fears when it comes to boarding international or even domestic flights. Anything can happen at any time, indeed even in nearby in neighboring Nigeria they are grappling with the threats and almost daily attacks from Bokko Haram. Although attacks are based in the North of Nigeria that does mean that the South of Nigeria is safe.

Since the attacks at the Westgate Mall in Kenya I have seen the security arrangements at our own Accra Mall beefed up and the place is now surrounded by AK47 wielding Police Officers who are o a 24-hour watch. So whilst there is no rioting on the streets of Accra or any other major city in Ghana for that matter it does not necessarily denote that Ghana is any safer than Egypt. It rather only gives an indication about the possibility and potential of violence and nothing more.

It is good for us to demonstrate such open concern for the safety of our players and the Administrative delegation too, but in lieu of FIFA coming out to declare Egypt out of bounds our focus must remain on the task at hand which is the qualification to the World Cup in Brazil come 2014.

Playing in Egypt will guarantee nothing for the Egyptians even if they play to a full house of 30,000 fans they must win by 5 clear and unanswered goals. It is possible but highly improbable! It just won’t make any difference where we play so long as we stay focused on the task at hand.