What has been a very good year for Ghanaian football is ending in fiasco. This has nothing to do with the flair of our players on the pitch but it’s borne out of inexplicable boardroom maneuvering of people who should know better. Government is yet to coherently explain its attempts to replace Kwesi Nyantakyi with Abedi Pele as Ghana’s candidate for the executive council elections of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF). But the Ghana Football Association insists that its chairman, Kwesi Nyantakyi is the right person for the job – and rightfully so.
Nyantakyi has done more for Ghana football than any of the football administrators before him. Through prudent management, common sense and visionary leadership, Nyantakyi led Ghana to two consecutive World Cup tournaments.
The Black Stars didn’t win the cup – and they haven’t won any cup in many years – but Ghana football has never enjoyed so much global acclaim as it has over the last six years or so with Nyantakyi at the helm of the FA. He has shown that he is a man who delivers. The least government can do to honour his achievements is to support his candidature and campaign for him to win.
But what do we see?
Instead of cheering Nyantakyi and prodding him for victory, government and its numerous PHD (pull him down) holders are bungling everything up – not just for him, but even for their preferred candidate, the legendary Abedi Pele.
No one will dispute Abedi Pele’s phenomenal skill on the football pitch. He has served Ghana very well. I like to say that in my world, there are no sacred cows. But bring in the likes of Abedi Pele and I want to go down on my knees in reverence. We all love to call Abedi Pele “The Maestro” and we want him to remain as such.
However, I don’t know what sort of politics he’s gotten himself into that would make government want to push him into a position he is not qualified for. To begin with, Abedi Pele is not a member of the Ghana Football Association. CAF is a federation of African Football Associations.
What that means is that if you are not on the local association, you cannot be on the continental body. It’s as simple as that. I can’t fathom why government doesn’t seem aware of this simple, basic principle. What they seek to do is like trying to get the Vatican to elect a fetish priest from Nogokpo as a cardinal. It just doesn’t work like that.
I have seen documents which suggest that as far back as last July, the FA informed government of its plans to nominate Kwesi Nyantakyi to contest in the CAF executive committee elections. In one of the documents, sports minister, Akua Sena Dansua, writes to offer government’s consent, which the FA really doesn’t need. They only decided to alert the government as a courtesy.
Then suddenly in November, someone in the office of the president decides to write to Abedi Pele, asking him to submit his CV for onward transmission to CAF as Ghana’s candidate for the executive committee elections for the continent’s football governing body.
It’s strange. But it seems Abedi Pele has done something extraordinary for the government and the administration is anxious to reward him. Perhaps, it’s because he gave us Dede and Jordan – two very skillful lads whose stardom might take Ghana football to heights their father never even dreamt of off. It could also be that Abedi Pele has suddenly become an NDC footsoldier, agitating seriously for some continental job. Whatever the case may be, government should find a better way to give Abedi Pele whatever they want to give him and leave Kwesi Nyantakyi alone to pursue a job he so richly deserves.
This confusion that sports minister, Akua Sena Dansua and whoever is prodding her from the office of the president, has caused doesn’t auger well for government. It is yet another embarrassment that government can conveniently do without. It’s also not good for Ghana football and, quite frankly, I think, it’s a serious stain on Abedi Pele’s legend. He doesn’t need this sort of crap – neither does Kwesi Nyantakyi.
After all Nyantakyi has done for Ghana and our football, government should be building monuments for him, not putting impediments in his way. If for any reason, government decides to shut its eyes to his achievements, government should not use the ‘bugabuga’ tactics the NDC is so well-noted for, to deprive him of what he has worked so hard for. Putting square pegs in round holes might go unnoticed and punished on the local front, government shouldn’t dare take it to the international stage.