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Opinions of Sunday, 16 October 2016

Columnist: Ghanaian Chronicle

Mr. President, sack Nii Lante; Ghanaians rise up against GFA (II)

Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye

A team of crack players that comprised of Abedi Pele, Tony Yeboah, Akwasi Appiah, Emmanuel Armah, Emmanuel Ampea and a host of others, should have taken Ghana to the World Cup for the first time, but that chance eluded these players because of the alleged disunity and infighting among the players and management at the time.

The Chronicle believes that a gifted player like Abedi Pele, on sober reflection about what happened in the past, will regret the missed opportunity to lead the Black Stars to the World Cup for the first time.

It is in the light of this that The Chronicle is worried over the alleged fracas between the Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, and the Ghana Football Association, especially its Chairman, Kwesi Nyantakyi.

Our concern is based on the fact that instead of the two feuding parties sitting down to do proper planning, especially on how Ghana would qualify for the World Cup for the fourth conservative time, both the Minister and the FA are fighting over who wields more authority.

The World Cup fixtures were released by FIFA early in the year, and one would have expected that both the GFA and the Sports Ministry would sit down to plan in advance, but this never happened.

The GFA thinks it has the backing of FIFA, and, therefore, does whatever it likes, whilst the Sports Minister also thinks he is in charge of the team, and must always be consulted on matters relating to the Black Stars.

Because of these egos, Ghanaians saw the pitch on which the Black Stars and Uganda match was played. Since there was no proper planning, the match was shifted to Tamale at the last hour, when the pitch was not in good condition to host the match.

Why should Ghana be always disgraced in front of her peers because of our poor pitches? What even exacerbated the situation was the time the match was played.

Temperatures in Tamale, around this time, are very high, and yet, for inexplicable reasons, the match was started at 3:30 p.m. It, therefore, came to us as no surprise, when the central referee, in the course of the match, gave the players a-five minute water-break because of the humid weather.

If you have hundred percent of your players playing abroad, especially in Europe, does it make sense to start such an important match at 3:30 p.m.?

This, alone, should tell Ghanaians the ad-hoc in which manner the GFA and Sports Ministry prepared for the match.

Yes, Uganda has always been a bogey side for Ghana, but if proper planning had gone into this match, we would have won.

Whilst Nii Lantey was at the Castle serving under the late President Mills, he and Koku Anyidoho were accused of trying to undermine the FA.

The latest conduct of Nii Lantey is giving credence to this accusation, because he is the only Sports Minister, in our recent history, whose tenure of office has seen a steady decline in the performance of the Black Stars.

Information that should have been kept secret is also clandestinely released into the public domain, just to paint the GFA black.

Whether the Minister likes it or not, FIFA does not want government interference in the management of football. Nii Lantey, therefore, has no option, than to collaborate with the FA to ensure the smooth running of the national teams.

Whilst conceding to this fact, the FA also appears to have taken its autonomy status to another level, and appears not to respect the Minister.

The spokesman of the GFA, Sani Diara, has been heard severally spewing unfortunate words at the Sports Minister, because of tight financial control measures the latter has introduced.

The GFA is definitely aware that it does not own the national football teams – they are assets of the State, called Ghana.

In fact, should the national teams be yanked out of the hands of the GFA, it would become a useless association without any proper source of income.

The FA is even unable to run a proper domestic league, with some of the players for the local teams earning ridiculous salaries.

One would have, therefore, expected that the hand that feeds you would be respected, but this is not what the FA is doing, it is rather trying to prove to the Minister that it also has balls.

As the adage goes, when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

Both the FA and Sports Minister are gradually killing our national teams, and if Ghanaians sit down unconcerned and allow this nonsense to continue, it is the country that would suffer in the end.

This is the reason why The Chronicle is suggesting that President Mahama reshuffle Nii Lantey.

Since the GFA is arguably a private establishment, which the President has no control over its management, we suggest to the various associations that form it to remove the current leadership through the due process of the law, to ensure that there is total peace in the general administration of football in Ghana.