“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” A proverb I learnt while in Primary 3 but its impact in the current happenings between the Ghana Football Association (GFA), and the Ministry is as relevant as it was back then.
The appointment of Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuije to head the Sports Ministry was greeted with cheers from a section of the media and some football lovers who thought, finally, the Minister to tame the Kwesi Nyantakyi led GFA is here.
Nii Lantey himself, a former broadcaster I must say, did not start on a good note mainly because of his utterances even before he assumed office. Comments like he knowing of a mafia at the FA and that he was ready to eliminate them can be best described as unnecessary.
Mr. Minister, I think you exhibit the impression of I have done this work before, and I know what you are doing so it will not work with me.
I humbly point it out to you that this is a wrong approach to tackling issues.
There is a strong perception that the Sports Ministry has been hypnotized by the Nyantakyi led administration because he gets them to do everything they want in ripping off the nation with a huge national team budget, and Hon. Nii Lantey is viewed as the man to stop that.
‘Nii Lantey dey come like kakai’ became a mantra amongst the sporting public.
Kakai here is a local term for masquerades who scare stubborn kids. The Minister was to scare the ‘Stubborn GFA’ that has not done any good to help the situation since he took over from Mustapha Ahmed.
The game of haunting is still on course but there isn’t a winner yet and I doubt there will even if they have all the time to themselves. Like the Akan proverb “The deer will suffer and the hunter will suffer too”.
But this pricks my mind because at the centre of all this, is our dear nation Ghana who has an integrity and image to protect.
Both houses should think more of Ghana and less of themselves and their parochial interest.
Who rules? Who defeated who? Will mean nothing if the name of Ghana is soiled globally.
Let’s all remember the foresight our first president Kwame Nkrumah had that Ghana continues to be the trail blazer on the continent.
The image of the GFA is getting worse with each passing week and the FA is not an island. It is the FA of Ghana, and that has to be in mind in whatever the ministry is doing.
Just last week, there was a leaked documents going round, indicting the FA in the payment of what has been termed as ‘unclassified payment” to induce match officials in Ghana’s 2014 World Cup qualification tie against Egypt.
It is alleged that the Ministry did leak it, but they came out quickly to deny it. But if indeed it was leaked by the Ministry, then we cannot trust whoever did that with any national material.
There are always better ways to deal with issues internally than washing your dirty linen in public. This news has made Ghana a laughing stock and we are viewed as cheats. In this line, what is the work done because you have ended up embarrassing the very nation you seek to protect. We must sit up and work together as one regardless of our differences.
Again “The GFA wanted me to do something I cannot say on air which I refused to do.” This is what the Minister said when asked to refute the claims made by certain officials blaming him for the Satellites’ inability to qualify for the African Youth Championship.
The above stated response by the Minister adds fuel to the whole ‘unclassified payment’ and the brouhaha about who leaked it.
What is the ‘something’ the FA wanted the Minister to do? To induce the match officials with a certain ‘unclassified payment’?
The ‘unclassified payment’ if it’s true, is not an indictment on the GFA alone but the Sports Ministry and the Government at large. They are telling the world that the Government of Ghana through it Sport Ministry teams up with the Football Association to induce match officials in games involving the national teams. Who will suffer in the end if this is taken serious? Ghana of course.
Forget the image assassination, the impasse between the Minister and the FA heads is affecting the national teams.
Like the famous African Saying “when two Elephants fight, it is the innocent grass that suffers”, but certainly the two will also be left with injuries.
The home-base Black Stars failed to qualify to the Championship Of African Nations (CHAN). The latest is the inability of the Black Satellites to qualify for the African Youth Championship for the first time in ten years.
The Black stars managed to book a ticket to the AFCON amidst the bonus misunderstanding between the Minister and the GFA, but if care is not taken to sort out the bonus issue, and the rift between the Minister and the FA Chief once and for all, it is bound to affect the senior national team’s qualification to the 2018 World Cup which starts in few months.
Remember the parable of the broom when you take out a steak; it’s easy to bend and break but in their numbers and unity they find strength-something that has always been in the Ghanaian DNA UNITY.
The recent successes chalked by the national teams, be it the three consecutive FIFA World Cup qualification, the Black Satellites’ World U-20 Youth Championship title or the Black Maiden’s Bronze medal at the FIFA Women’s Junior World Championship, were done with a smooth cooperation and peaceful coexistence of the Sports Minister and the President of the Ghana Football Association starting from Hon. Osafo Marfo’s role in the acquisition of the mega Goldfields Ghana sponsorship deal in 2006.
The GFA needs the Sports Ministry and the Ministry needs the GFA.
After all, it is the Ministry that funds the national teams and the Ghana Football Association manages the national teams for the people of Ghana.
The Government (Ministry) basks in the glory of the national teams. We’ve seen Presidents stating the successes of the various national teams as part of Government’s achievement during State Of The Nation Address.
They say it with so much glee and pride to a point that it sadly becomes a campaign tool to score political points.
The earlier the Minister and the GFA President smoke the peace pipe, the better for the football of the acclaimed Brazilians of African Football. Even in the Animal kingdom where stupidity is predominant, there is order.