Soccer News of Thursday, 25 August 2016
Ghana FA says it is unaware of an order by Sports Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye to Black Stars coach Avram Grant to change his squad for next week’s clash against Rwanda.
Widespread media reports on Thursday suggested that the Minister has taken charge of selection of players into the Black Stars by giving the order for the changes in the squad.
According to reports on various radio stations the Sports Minister has ordered the Israeli coach to use only home-based players for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
This comes after the highly-experienced former Chelsea coach named a 23-man squad that is dominated by foreign-based players for the game against Rwanda even though the team has already sealed qualification for next year’s AFCON.
But the Ghana FA says no such order has come from the ministry as preparations are on course for the match to be played in Accra next week.
“We are not aware of such an order from the Minister. Just yesterday we had meeting with the ministry about the game and no such orders were made,” Ghana FA spokesman Ibrahim Sannie said.
“The only person mandated to call players into the national team of Ghana is coach Avram Grant and he has also not received such orders.”
Wa All Stars goalie Richard Ofori and AshGold defender Kadiri Mohammed are the only home-based players in the team for the final qualifier.
According to the reports the Minister is not happy with the number of home-based players in the team and he is forcing the hands of the coach to leave out players plying their trade abroad.
There has been tension between the Ghana FA and the Ministry since Vanderpuye took over with long-held suspicions that he is carrying out his long-held ambition to take over the federation.
After this weekend club football will come to a halt and international football will take center stage.
Ghana could play Russia an international friendly immediately after the game against the Amauvibi next week.
This issue of using home-based players could however raise tension ahead of what is expected to be a walk in the park for the Black Stars.
The GFA has been at loggerheads with the Minister since he took charge about four months ago and the federation sees his posturing as his long held ambition to take over the running of football in Ghana.
Vanderpuye was part of a group formed in 2010 within the ruling NDC party seeking to overthrow the GFA leadership through an illegal coup.
This claim was made by a member of the group Ben Nunoo Mensah who revealed their vision was to take over the running of the federation.
Vanderpuye’s stand-off with the federation is seen as the continuation of the agenda as he is now directly in charge of the Ministry of Sports.
He started his reign by subjecting the GFA to several attacks on radio until the federation hit back over what was termed as ‘lies’ that the Local Black Stars played with Japan without the ministry’s knowledge.
Since then the several officials of the federation have publicly challenged him and the GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi hit out at him branding him a ‘serial caller’ before the 16 clubs in the Ghana top-flight challenged him over his claims that the league is unattractive.