Viewpoint: GFA President must be hailed; not vilified

GFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi
GFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi

We keep saying our systems must work as a country but I get disappointed when I hear people say the president of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi who was duly elected by its members must be sacked because of the recent poor performances of the senior national team, the Black Stars.

GFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi
GFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi

Admittedly, I was sad after the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon thwarted our dream of winning the just ended Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. I was with the firm conviction that the wait was going to be over and the burden of failures was going to cease considering our recent performances in the continental tournaments.

As a country I think we need to take a critical look into our trophy drought than to unnecessarily vilify innocent people. For the crusaders of “Nyantakyi must resign” campaign, the Wafu Zone B Boss must vacate his post due to our repeated semifinal appearance since 2008 without an AFCON glory makes it worrying. But wait a second, What do we want as a country?

I remember when Nyantakyi was elected as the GFA boss the target was to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. After that our thirst for success shot up leading us to three consecutive World Cup appearances (2006, 2010 and 2014) where we nearly broke the long standing African record at the world cup (quarter finals) but were denied by Uruguay.

First and foremost, let us try and objectively assess the level of Ghana football under Kwesi Nyantakyi’s administration.

The Black Stars exited at the group phase in the Egypt 2006, 3rd place in 2008, runners up in Angola 2010, 4th place in 2012 & 2013 before losing the trophy via penalties to Ivory Coast in 2015 and 4th place in Gabon in the African Cup of Nations.

In the 2014 world cup in Brazil where the controversies erupted, the Commission of Enquiry set up by the then president John Dramani Mahama, in my opinion failed to reveal the cause of the players’ revolt which resulted in our early exit at the World Cup.

The appearance fee for the players was released a month before the world cup kicked off but the money never got to the players until they protested days to their last group game against Portugal.

Surprisingly, Kwesi Nyantakyi was tagged as the brain behind the players protest.
Since then the issue of winning bonuses has not been properly dealt with.

Former Minister Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuije started something but his despotic and unfriendly approach towards the managers of the national teams generated unnecessary brawl which has affected the team’s performance in the 2018 world cup qualifiers putting Ghana in a tight corner.

At the juvenile level, after missing out in 2005 and 2007 African U20 championship, Nyatakyi led administration made sure Ghana won the 2009 Africa Youth Championship in Rwanda and subsequently became the first African side to win the FIFA U20 world cup after the heroic performance in Egypt in 2009.

The tournament in Rwanda produced Ransford Osei as the goal-king after netting 7 goals and Dominic Adiyiah was adjudged the best player and the top scorer in Egypt.

Since 2009 our worst performance at the U20 level at the world stage has been a third place finish in Turkey 2013 with Assifuah emerging as the goalking with 6 goals.

Gone are the days where the mentioning of name the Ghana at the U17 level scared opposing countries in a major tournament.

Under the era of Kwesi Nyantakyi same cannot be said about them after the country was slapped with a ban on MRI issues. Championships preceding 2015 saw the Black Satellites failing to make an appearance in 2009, 2011 and a group stage exit in 2013 in Morocco.

The major challenge of this current administration is their inability to make their own products attractive to the corporate world.
The Ghana Premier League has suffered a premature cancellation of sponsorship deals from Glo to First Capital Plus Bank with excuses that could have been avoided.

In the last 11years, the Ghana league has produced 5 different winners i.e Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko, Aduana Stars, Berekum Chelsea and recently Wa All Stars signifying the competitive nature of the league unlike previous years where it was duopolized by Hearts & Kotoko.

However, the standard is very low and it always manifests in our recent performance in the CAF Inter Club competitions.

In the wisdom of this administration, several committees have been established to steer the affairs of Ghana Football.

However, the two major committees whose deliveries have been highly disappointing are the Sponsorship & Marketing Committee and the Judicial Committees (Disciplinary, Appeals and Review Committee).

The Sponsorship and Marketing Committee is tasked to oversee and seek for sponsorship and marketing deals for the FA but that committee seems to be ineffective in my opinion considering the fact that 90% of the sponsorship for both the national teams and the premier league are brought to the association by agents with huge percentage which even affect the amount the main actors of the game receives.

For three seasons running, the actual date for the start for the Ghana premier League has been affected by threat and fear of interlocutory injunction as a result of members not satisfied by the decisions of the judicial committee.

It is either the date for the delivery of verdicts by the Disciplinary Committee delays or the verdict overturned at the Appeals Committee as a result of settling personal scores between the members of both committees.

The inability of the judicial bodies to handle cases and serve aggrieved persons with verdict has generated litigations which have forced the Premier League Board to alter the dates for the league severally.

Before I end my sermon, I think the GFA headed by Kwesi Nyantakyi must do a proper background checks before appointing members onto the various committees especially the adjudicatory bodies to avoid conflicts of interest and members must be ready to recuse themselves when its necessary to have some trust in the system.

Secondly, the various committees must be properly supervised to seal the loopholes in the system.

For those calling on the presidency to sack Kwesi Nyantakyi should be informed that the Ghana Football Association is an association and government has no right to dictate to them.

Those who are of the view that a lot of tax payers’ money has been pumped into the national teams but “nothing” to show should rather vent their anger on government and leave GFA alone because the monies are not given to the members of the FA but rather a purse holder who works with the Ministry of Youth & Sports (Gov’t) doing the payments.

If we go by this, then we are trying to say governments can force out the leaderships of Sports Writers Association (SWAG), Ghana Bar Association, Tomato Sellers Association, Public Service Workers Union etc when members and non-members call for their removal.

Kwesi Nyantakyi can only be kicked out after his mandate in 2019 and per the rules governing the running of Ghana Football he is legitimate to contest and only “football people” can renew his mandate and so why are some football fans crying more than the bereaved?

Must we only win the trophy at every international tournament to show what we have achieved? If we say Kwesi Nyantakyi must resign, are we calling for this because he has overstayed in office or just shear hatred?

Ironically, he has been tagged as corrupt man, overseeing several financial mismanagements under his regime but no single evidence has been produced for him to be arranged before the law court.
Isn’t it strange that after 11years of constant allegations no one has been able to send him to court though he does not enjoy diplomatic immunity? No wonder those who publicly called him thieve on live TV and radio programs are now begging Mr. Nyantakyi to drop the libel case he has filed against them in court.

Remember, people of Libya called for the head of Gaddafi without recourse to the future.

What happened to the country Libya after the exit of Gaddafi is very clear in our eyes and minds. Why don’t we allow Mr Nyantakyi to see his full mandate then we (football People) vote him out for smooth transition of power so that the state of our football doesn’t become like Libya.

We want to sack the man whose achievements outweighs his flaws without thinking of who succeeds him or we want to allow those who couldn’t even fill their nomination forms to lead Ghana Football?

The calls made by the proponents of “Kwesi Nyantakyi Must Go” is a perfect signatory to popular saying ‘A prophet is not honored in his country’ and so I believe Kwesi has done well and needs to be HAILED NOT VILIFIED.

By Michael Okuley (GBC Sports)
Twitter : @MikeOkuley

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