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Sports Features of Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Source: GNA

Spelling doom in the name of passion!

(A GNA Feature by Veronica Commey)

Accra, May 17, GNA -Yes, it is the passion of the nation - a clich=E9 that has encouraged lovers of the globular leather, both young and old to freely speak their minds, regardless of the form their expressions might take.

From radio phone-ins to views in the streets before and after football matches, soccer fans through to the game's administrators, in the name of the so-called "passion" in diverse ways bring the name of the game into disrepute.

Obviously, Mr Wilberforce Mfum's ethnocentric outburst prior to last Sunday's game involving Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko was born from the wrong side of the passion, which was supposed to unite rather than divide us.

That the former national star, like many others, allowed his passion to becloud his sense of judgement is a truism. But need one prophesise doom in the name of passion? No Sir! Clearly not someone of your calibre!

Not at a time FIFA and the world at large are vigorously and relentlessly battling racism and clamouring for its total ban from the game reserved for the decent.

For some of us who have always held the view that our decision not to prosecute "enemies" of the game in times past remain our bane in the increasing spate of hooliganism, the Ghana Football Association and the Board of Directors of Asante Kotoko's instant reaction to axe Mr. Mfum is laudable.

Be it as it may, many fans like Mr Mfum are still living in the unfortunate past, where racial comments went unnoticed regardless of the quarters they might have come from.

For the ex-national star to have thrown caution to the winds by refusing to come to terms with the fact that resplendent among his roles is educating the supporters and not inciting them must clearly give us a lot to worry about.

That his action must give us enough food for thought on persons we opt for on leadership roles must not be taken out of context. One cannot fathom what Mr. Mfum thought he was doing when with or without provocation, he had the courage to remind people of the grief that visited the country during the May 9 2001 and pledged a recurrence of a more grievous catastrophe.

Folks, one is tempted to suggest that it is not enough to apologise and retract a statement like his, against the backdrop of the adage which says "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". Without hallucinating, there are many other Mfum's out there who unfortunately find themselves at the very top of the game and sometimes propagate this message to their rank and files, leaving the beautiful game the loser.

Lately it has become a common occurrence for clubs to have their unhealthy demands for preferred match officials met by the "powers that be" deepening observers worries over how low standards have come in football.

A typical example was when the Professional League Board (PLB) saw it worthy of appointing Togolese officials to oversee the league decider involving Kotoko and Hearts in April in the name of "doing away with potential biased officiating."

Without prejudice, it is a great relief to see Mr Mfum, who ought to have known better, used as a sacrificial lamb by both his club and the GFA.

At least, it affords some of us a breather that gradually the era where persons took their listeners for granted and propagated negativity without reprimands is drawing to a close. Perhaps, one can hope that the swift nature in which the security agencies reacted to the unfortunate comments, assuring supporters who thronged the arena would be adopted in prosecuting hooligans at our stadia in future.

It is obvious education alone cannot be enough for adamant lots like the rest of Mfums out there; whose is a misplaced passion. So the earlier we try our hands on letting them pay for their "sins", the better for all of us. Chaooo!