by: michael eli dokosi /www.blakkpepper.com/ghana
When murder is committed, investigators and the court seek to establish motive and who stands to gain from the crime.
In Ghana’s football sphere, there is a tussle between the Kwesi Nyantakyi-led Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the sports minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye over using any means to win matches and effecting a cost saving approach respectively.
The recent debate has to do with the Black Stars match against the Amavubi or the Wasps of Rwanda.
Ghana having already qualified for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be staged in Gabon thanks to its thirteen (13) points secured from 5 games, needs to play Rwanda only to avoid sanctions from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
It is here, Sports Minster, Edwin Nii Lante Vaderpuye made the case that since the ministry had little money in the face of competing demands, the GFA and coach Avram Grant should use locally based players who have been neglected despite the abundance of talent to give them much needed exposure.
But critically Nii Lante’s germane argument was that the Stars matches cost money, sometimes to the tune of one million dollars per match (plane fare, hotel bills, feeding and winning bonuses) but since it’s a national assignment the ministry could tolerate five foreign based payers to augment the players chosen from the local league.
Nii Lante also makes the case that money could be saved from the use of locally based players as they would be paid relatively lower sums, money would be freed up to cater for the Black Maidens to compete in the World Women’s Under 17 Championship and also cater for the Black Stars World Cup qualifier against Egypt in October.
It is this call which led to castigations and expletives being held at the Sports Minister who doubles as Member of Parliament for the Odododiodoo constituency such that Andrew Ayew, a fan favourite who ought to know better in a populace move announced he was ready to pay the air fare of colleagues who couldn’t foot the bill so they fly to Ghana to honour the match. Mind you Ayew himself is incapacitated with a right thigh injury. The question to Ayew is since he is so patriotic, is he ready to foot the cost of his colleagues feeding, lodging at the hotel and payment of the winning bonus they so eagerly crave for?
Communications Director of the Ghana Football Association, Ibrahim Sannie Daara, upon the cost cutting efforts of the minster emerging hinted that his outfit plans to boycott the final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda slated for September 3, 2016. Such a move could cause sanction to be slapped on the country.
The FA Spokesperson also volleyed, if the minister preferred the local Black Stars why did he wait till the FA wrote to the clubs to release Ghanaian players for the match before making his suggestions.
It’s true, as the FA contends, that the minister had about three months to give the directive so adequate adjustments could be made and not when they had sent invites to club’s team mangers for release.
The coach, Avram Grant has also rendered that he needs the full supplement of his team, clearly also shooting an arrow at the minister.
So in the eyes of GFA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi, Coach Avram Grant ad FA spokesperson Darra, some of the Black Stars players like Ayew, the minister is the big stumbling block to civilization and advancement.
What these characters fail to see and acknowledge is that even before Nii Lante emerged as Sports Minister, the FA had lost shine in the eyes of right thinking members of society not helped by the poorly resourced local league, virtual collapse of the colts system, the non-sponsorship of the league and the Brazil scandal which shamed the entire nation.
If these players claim they love this same Ghana so much and should be commended for their patriotism, what do we make of their demand that the country airlift their bonuses to them in Brazil else they were boycotting subsequent matches?
When matches were staged at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi and supporters neglected them, have they introspectively asked what the causative factor was?
When these players still demand and expect ‘appearance fee’ payments, while other countries have forfeited such payments, who is being inconsiderate?
While the Dzomefe Commission Report recommend payment of $5000 as winning bonus fee from the $10,000 they have gleefully been extracting from the tax payer, was it not this same Nii Lante who did not fight against and turned a blind eye to the $8000 they are still taking?
When certain critical sports commentators including Country Man Songo and Abatey cited the perceived wrong doings of Kwesi Nyantakyi including contentiously using Islamic name to swear under oath and sidelining critics in the sports fraternity, are these the doing of Nii Lante Vanderpuye.?
Should it have taken Vanderpuye to point out however late to Grant that there was need for local players to be used in the Rwanda game?
Shouldn’t Nyantakyi and his wailing Sannie Darra as dutiful Ghanaians intervene to dissuade the Israeli coach of his wasteful ways and safe guard the public purse, the very thing poor Nii is fighting for?
Would one be wrong to think all this media aberrations on the minister was payback for refusing to pay winning bonuses to Black Star management committee members who like vampires suck the nation dry?
Is it not ironic that the BBC Sannie Darra who wrote damning epistles against the Kwesi Nyantakyi led administration is today marred in all the wrong he saw and sought to remedy before being shut up with his appointment?
True, the minister served notice event at his vetting that he was guarded and won’t let assigns and mafia dons at the Football Association (FA) topple him in no time just as they have done to his predecessor some of whom barely survived two years and he is just delivering on what he promised.
Thankfully, Nii Lante is proving to be a solid man and public officer. I listened to his argument on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) detailing his desire to save money and facilitate Ghana’s Paralympic Team’s effort in Rio as well as manage funds for the Black Queens and this same Black Stars’ crucial game against Egypt.
He was crisp and detailed, little wonder the BBC played about 2 mintes of his voice. He has shown that his years in sports and critically as a commentator on State Broadcaster (GBC) has been immense indeed.
Nii understands the propaganda being waged against him by GFA assigns in the print and electronic media and so comes straight to the people to make his case where he could not be misrepresented.
Sannie takes issue with Lante announcing certain decisions on radio and WhatsApp platforms instead of officially communicating with the FA but why would a minister opt to have other outlets if he’s been given no reason to be weary?
Sannie again in his media rants, has made known he was unenthused when the minister described the FA as ‘cow dung’ that looks hard but is full of ‘rotten maggots’ adding there has been more than 30 unprovoked attacks on the federation from him.
He’s also cited the FA expecting him to go with the ways and means talk by Nii Lante as unfortunate as is his talk that the local league is unattractive implying the minister’s utterances accounts for corporate organisations reluctance to sponsor the league.
Nii has countered submitting that the GFA has demonstrated their disregard for his office and allowing their surrogates to insult him at will adding that the FA had the “audacity to refer to me as a serial caller.”
He through his media interaction noted that since the GFA works under the Ministry of Sports, they must show respect but rather want the old status quo which has led to the stalling of the football sectors’ forward march.
What is without doubt is that the situation must be mended. The minster and the GFA leadership don’t have to be bed fellows, cuddly and profess love for each other but at least they can respectfully tolerate each other to get football business done.
It is not in the place for Sannie Daara to call for the dismissal of the minster, after all even he is at post. Nii Lante has stated once that he would do his duty as his conscience allows and if he should be dismissed by the president so be it, a rare, assertive and bold declaration for often timid ministers.
In a country where an International Monetary Fund (IMF) intervention is in place, the Black Star management and the players themselves must realize that their wayward ways have their days numbered for it they persist in their ways, the Baba Yara shunning would be like child’s play.
They can decide to pitch their strength against the minister in a referendum to see who Ghanaians will endorse? One who is fighting to cut back excessive cost and tame waste or those who want the jolly ride of scooping dollars on every match, feeding at choice hotels and flying business class with an absentee coach who has hardly groomed any local player?
Is it not ironic that after incessant campaign by prudent sports practitioners for Nyantakyi to relinquish his post as Head of the Black Stars Management Committee in addition to being GFA president, Nyantakyi or should I say Osman’s chosen George Afriyie effectively the Vice GFA president has served notice he is resigning from his post simply because his superior and other FA members have labeled him a leaker of internal information to Nii Lante because they happen to be cousins.
Afriyie on a radio station rendered “I am leaving for my own sanity, when I leave and the leaks continue, perhaps they would now believe I had no hand in the matter.”
Such is the FA people Vanderpuye has to contend with. People who want to be seen to be acting rather than actually executing their duty.