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Opinions of Sunday, 13 December 2009

Columnist: Gyima Opoku-Antwi

Re: Kojo Bonsu and the GFA's gears


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Ever since Mr. Kojo Bonsu called for the establishment of the Public Interest Committee (PIC) by the GFA, I have noticed with surprise the level of vitriolic and personal attacks that have been heaped on him, some based on twisted facts and logic, and others by clearly ill-informed sports journalists who are simply doing their masters’ bidding.

I do however think that the issues he raised in that Graphic Sports publication needs some further discussion, a discussion that will focus on the issues he raised and some other related developments.

Call for PIC and the personal attacks

In their reaction to the call, some members of the GFA, especially its President, Kwasi Nyantekyi and its Spokesperson, Randy Abbey instead of addressing the issues Kojo raised, resorted to the use of abusive language on the person of Kojo Bonsu. The insults were so annoying that a leading Sports Paper did a deserving editorial captioned “the message and not the messenger”.

Because the GFA did not have any defence to the truth and the issues the man raised, they tried very hard to let the whole world believe that Kojo called for the setting of the PIC because he contested GFA elections and lost. The GFA president in one of his vibes said people should ignore the call by Kojo Bonsu because he lacked the mental capacity to think for himself let alone calling on the GFA to set up the PIC, yet he turned round and stated that the GFA was ready with their nominees and were awaiting Government to add its nominees to make up the number and Randy Abbey was quoted in the media as saying that the GFA representatives on the PIC would be “strong”.

How then do we reconcile their effusions against Kojo Bonsu and then agree to the formation, a call that had earned Kojo all the insults? I suggest they apologise to him for he has called for the right thing to be done since we, the Tax Payers, and all Ghanaians from whose sweat the Government finances the National Teams have a right to know what goes into the management of these teams including proper accountability.

I am sure what the GFA did not like about Kojo’s call was when he said the GFA would be checked and accountability ensured because they see themselves as super humans who are not subject to any form of questioning. Some members of the GFA now refer to Kojo Bonsu as their enemy. How petty and pity!!

Threat of a FIFA ban

Interestingly, because the GFA failed to get the public to believe that the sole crusader, as I prefer to call him, made the call for the formation of the PIC because he lost an election to Kwasi Nyantekyi, they started to black mail the whole nation, hiding behind threats of a FIFA ban referring to the call by Kojo as Government interference by their definition, when they know very well that Kojo does not hold any Government position.

The alleged threat of a ban from FIFA became a sing-song and a rebuttal mechanism that was thrown about as if Ghanaians do not know what FIFA does not want and what amounts to interference in football administration. Supported by their cohorts, the Tuesday, December 8, 2009 edition of the Ghanaian Times re-echoed the same slogan, another cunning way of diverting attention from the truth and the real issues in attempt to build hatred for Kojo Bonsu.

I am sure that like others, they’ve tried various schemes to kill the establishment of the PIC at both the Ministry and the presidency so they can have the freedom to do as they please as far as the stated funded national teams are concerned. The wicked threat of a FIFA ban has also failed!

When the Mayor of Cape Town invited representatives of the Government to inspect facilities for the South Africa 2010, as we learned later a member of the GFA told the Ministry that any visit by the Government delegation would amount to Government interference since the GFA had inspected those facilities already and sent a report to FIFA and FIFA would ban Ghana. How funny?

Trip to South Africa

Then came the date for the draw for the South Africa 2010 and from what we’ve been hearing on radio through their hired ‘assassins’, the GFA felt it was their preserve and no one else, so when they saw the likes of the Minister, Kojo Bonsu and others they felt so uncomfortable that they went into a frenzy spreading false claims about them and their visit. Only God knows how much that cost them.

Their gullible media agents even went to the extent of reporting that the government delegation especially Kojo Bonsu were barred from the draw and sadly some persons who I thought were knowledgeable sports writers also reported these lies in their sports papers.

When the truth came out that Kojo Bonsu was even at the dinner and the world cup draw itself, I was stunned by the new GFA and their agents twist that Kojo was saved by the Mayor of Cape Town who according to the Ghanaian Times “managed to secure one invitation from the LOC for Bonsu”.

Why was Kojo Bonsu the main focus? Is he not a Ghanaian and deserved to be in South Africa?

Media reports

It is unfortunate that a section of the media has taken a myopic view of the call by Mr. Kojo Bonsu for the formation the PIC and trumpeting the so called threats of the ban from FIFA at the least opportunity, or when their GFA masters open their mouths. I wonder whether they read what the basis for Kojo’s call was and the matters arising therein as published by the Graphic in the first instance.

Some media houses are trying frantically like the GFA to rope in politics, for instance, the Ghanaian Times referred to Mr. Kojo Twum-Boafo who was in South Africa as “who also contested the Ayawaso West Wugon Parliament seat on the ion ticket of NDC and lost”.

The section of the media churning out lies went further and reported on a supposed report made by a FIFA official to the Ghanaian delegation on Kojo Bonsu’s bahaviour and the Ghanaian Times again reported that “baffled by Kojo Bonsu’s behaviour, Jerome Champagne then met Ghana Official delegation comprising Sports Minister, Rashid Pelpuo, FA President, Kwasi Nyantekyi, his vice Fred Pappoe and spokesperson Randy Abbey to inform them of Mr. Bonsu’s behaviour”.

These were not the only people at the meeting and I challenge the GFA and the Ghanaian Times to deny it. Also, that meeting was not at the instance of the FIFA official. The GFA should tell the whole world the details of the discussion and the reaction of FIFA on the subject matter during the discussion.

Sports minister’s press conference Nobody can suppress the truth however hard they try, and I am glad that the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports has spoken at long last by calling a Press Conference to throw light on the issues. I am very happy that he made it clear that Mr. Kojo Bonsu was not calling for the formation of the PIC as a mouth piece of Government as some members of the GFA and a section of the media are trying to portray but as an individual Ghanaian who has the right to do so.

He also never said the FIFA official complained to him and some FA members. From what I read, he said the FIFA official and the FA officials told him about an enquiry made by Kojo on the amount accruing to Ghana.

He also said that “as a Ministry we acknowledge the independence of the FA which manages the national teams but we must also not lose sight of the fact that the teams are catered for heavily by the government from state coffers and therefore crucial to know how the funds are utilised”.

Is the Hon. Minister saying anything different from what Kojo has been saying throughout his call for the setting up of the PIC, including the fact that the GFA are the Managers and the Government, the Owner and Financier of the national teams as well as the need for checking and accountability? This is a fact everybody including GFA and FIFA officialdom can not deny.

The Minister at the press conference never mentioned any threat from the FIFA official during their meeting as alleged by a section of the press.

Now the Minister of Youth and Sports, the Government’s mouth piece on Youth and Sport has spoken and tacitly endorsed the issues Kojo raised in his call for the setting up of the PIC and also debunked all the lies and threats that Ghana faces a ban, I urge him in the shortest possible time do the necessary consultations and send the names of Government representatives on the PIC to the GFA for announcement so that all efforts could be harnessed towards Angola and South Africa 2010.

Matters arising

In every society it takes one person to fight for a good cause for the benefit and good of many. If Kojo had not started the call, the PIC would exist but on paper, infact it has been so for four years. Kojo Bonsu was said to have enquired from an official of FIFA how much Ghana will earn from her qualification to the 2010 World Cup and that has made the GFA gurus gone mad again and the only reason being that it is Kojo Bonsu again!

However as they rant and rant and asking the Minister of Youth and Sports to do something about Kojo Bonsu’s act and to which the Minister says he is yet to hear Kojo’s side to determine the next step to take, the GFA, in their usual tumbling and somersaulting (“somer – tumbling”) nature, quickly issued a statement, signed by its General Secretary, Kofi Nsiah telling the whole world how much Ghana is going to earn from her qualification to the 2010 World cup, the number of tickets, per diem etc. This has never happened before and it could not have happened but for Kojo Bonsu. Wonders would never end!! What prompted the issuance of this statement?

Has the GFA and Kofi Nsiah ever done any such thing before? Ghana (Black Stars) has participated in a lot of friendly matches at the invitation of other nations and were also at the World Cup in 2006. All these earned Ghana some money. Have the GFA and Kofi Nsiah ever made any earnings public?

Now that the GFA has started and seen the way to accountability, may I take the opportunity to take them one World Cup back and ask a few questions? How much did Ghana earn in participating in Germany 2006; how many air tickets were given to Ghana and who were the beneficiaries; how many match tickets were allocated to Ghana and who were the sellers and how much commission was paid; how much was the per diem for Germany 2006?

The opening paragraph of Kofi Nsiah’s release published by the Daily Graphic read “Ghana’s participation in the group stage of the South Africa 2010 World Cup alone would fetch the nation US$9 million” and that of the Ghanaian Times also read “Each participating nation at the next year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa would be entitled to $1,000,000 as preparation money for the month long tourney”. The emphasis here is that the money belongs to the NATION. Reading further, the GFA started using the term, Participating Member Association (PMA) to try their usual trickery to make it appear like the money belongs to the GFA but however hard they try, we know and they know that the money is for Ghana and not for the GFA, simple.

Since the money is for Ghana, though payment would be made through the GFA by FIFA, may I ask if the GFA has a separate Account into which these inflows would be paid? If not, I entreat the Minister of Youth and Sports to ensure that an account separate from the GFA’s other accounts is opened immediately and all monies received from FIFA paid into it.

The Ministry should be also be involved in the allocation of the World Cup air tickets and the match tickets so that there would be transparency in these areas too. Maybe Kojo Bonsu should have asked the FIFA officials how many match tickets were allocated to Ghana and I am sure Kofi Nsiah would have included it in his press release or there would have been another one giving us the details.

Kudos to Kojo Bonsu and Co. You are the winners and by this you have reminded the world that the truth shall always prevail however the tribulations!!! Kojo your efforts have started bearing fruits, you have been vindicated.

To the section of the media who for obvious reasons (this stomach matter!) refuse to think deep and reflect/focus on the message but rather focus on the messenger, I urge them to rethink since they cannot change the truth. If they have any sense of shame, they should bow their heads by now after the Hon. Minister’s press conference.

I will conclude by appealing to the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports that in discussing the formation of the PIC, the Protocol Agreement referred to under Article 70.5 of the GFA Statutes, which would spell out Government – GFA relationship should be prepared and signed.

Gyima Opoku-Antwi
KNUST, Kumasi
E-Mail: kofipoku@yahoo.com


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