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Sports Features of Saturday, 16 May 2015

Source: Jude Williamson Junior

Sir Jones Attuquayefio And The Lessons For US.

We were all shell shocked when the news came to us of the demise of Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, one of our greatest footballer players to grace our fields. He was not just a footballer, but an administrator and a coach par excellence.
As a coach, Jones swept everything in his path and in doing that won continental accolade and recognition. If ever there is anything like African hall of fame for coaches, I strongly believe that Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio's name would be found among those who have paid the dues to the beautiful game of football.

Let us for once reflect on the very top four teams in the following leagues; Barclays Premier league, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, and Ligue 1, that brings it to the number of sixteen clubs and for a coach to lead a team to the eighth position in the world cannot be considered as a mean achievement.
Jones spent most of his playing days with Accra Great Olympics. He also spent most of his coaching time with that great club. One thing of note is the bitter city rivalry between Great Olympics and Accra Hearts of oak club.

Yet when the time came for Jones to coach Hearts, he never dwelt on rivalry or animosity; he just did the job as is wont of a man of integrity and common sense.

The success at Hearts of oak does not belong only to Hearts and Jones but to all Ghanaians. That is the way I saw it and that is the way I still see it. Jones has shown with his attitude and works that we can have differing ideas but can work together for the good of all.
Since the inception of our fourth republic, our brand of politics continues to divide us as a people. While our political leaders continue to make friends in secret and enjoy their lot together, those who they claim to be fighting for are encouraged to inflict insults and wounds on each other.
Brother is against brother and tribe against tribe just because we share different political ideologies.
It is considered an anathema for one person from a different political tradition to work with another party. Ghana abounds in a lot of talents and we cannot at this stage afford to behave in such manner.
Let us harness all the talents we have wherever they for the good of this nation
Coming back to the story of Jones Attuquayefio, he did not create a huge financial empire for himself but has left an indelible mark on the continent football history.

I will suggest that such personalities like Jones and the altruism they show should be taught to our younger ones so that we give apt meaning to the dictum "Good name is better than riches"
One aspect our culture that we all need to work on is the habit of writing our experiences while active. A friend, Makwakwa, was supposed to have interviewed Jones when the news of his ill health became a public concern.

If this had been done, we would have more stories to tell about Jones' Odyssey, an Odyssey that has more to teach the growing generation of youth in our country.
Some of us vividly remember was Jones was first recruited for Hearts of Oak; some supporters were vehemently against the idea simply because he played for Olympics.

What sort of crooked thinking was that? Today when you ask those supporters to justify their actions, you will have no one showing his/her face. The notion that one group is better than the other should be disregarded and let us use the best in every group to make our country better.

There are times that we need to criticize ourselves, our parties, our tribes, our churches and our societies just to make them better. The notion that criticism is always destructive should give way to criticism to make better. Human as we are, we should always bear in mind that we can only change the situation when we accept to change ourselves without any prompting.
As we mourn Jones, let us for once depart from the normal praising singing. Jones does not need that. He has done it himself. There is nothing that anyone will say but recapitulations of his achievements.

What we need at this moment is to use the important lesson of overcoming unreasoning rivalry to achieve such feat. Let us overcome our political bigotry and start looking forward in finding solutions to our country's problem.

Let us use all talents wherever we can find them be they members of one party or the other. Let us break down these tribal divides and work to achieve a Ghanaian agenda, a Ghanaian solution for Ghanaian problems. The age of tribes and divisions should begin to end and that of a united Ghana begin with the lessons learnt from our hero Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio. Rest in peace, Jones you have made your mark in the annals.


Jude Williamson Junior
Germantown, Maryland USA
aplakudase@gmail.com