General News of Tuesday, 30 August 2016
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Sports Minister appear set on a collision course following a disagreement over the selection of players for an international football match.
While the Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vaderpuye wants the GFA to use local players for a match against Rwanda, the GFA says this decision was poorly reasoned because foreign-based players had already been invited for the match.
The Ghana- Rwanda match
The Sports Minister wants to cut down expenditure, believing that since the Black Stars match against Rwanda is not a crucial match, the local contingent can be used.
Ghana has already qualified for AFCON 2017 and the match is a mere formality.
He also fears that the match could result in injuries to the foreign-based players who have begun the football season in Europe.
A serious injury could not only undermine the players’ spot in the team but also hurt Ghana’s chances in an important World Cup Qualifying match against Egypt.
But the GFA says Nii Lante had all the opportunity to raise these concerns after the Black Stars secured qualification for AFCON 2017 about three months ago.
The FA Spokesperson, Ibrahim Saani Daara said, if he preferred the local Black Stars, he didn’t have to wait until the FA wrote to the clubs to release the Ghanaian players for the match before making his suggestions.
He said the minister took the decision and announced it on radio and on WhatsApp platforms instead of officially communicating with the FA.
The foreign-based players have decided to buy their own air tickets and West Ham star Dede Ayew has promised to pay for players who are unable to buy their own tickets.
The GFA has applauded the decision of the players saying it is a demonstration of patriotism.
But the Rwanda match appears to be the springboard for a larger fight between Nii Lante Vanderpuye and the Kwesi Nyantakyi-led GFA.
According to the Communications Director Saani Daara, the Sports Minister set the tone for a hostile relationship with the FA right from his vetting last year.
He said Mr Vanderpuye threw ‘pot shots’ at the FA suggesting that even his son can coach the Black Stars.
According to him, the minister has also described the FA as ‘cow dung’ that looks hard but is full of ‘rotten maggots’. The Communications Director says there have been more than 30 unprovoked attacks on the federation from Nii Lante.
He expressed disappointment in the Sports minister for using the media to communicate decisions when the office of the GFA stands open to him.
“It is very disturbing,” he said pointing out that information shared with the Sports ministry is often leaked to the media. According to him, it appears the minister’s strategy is to demonise the FA and make it unpopular.
He referred to comments by the Sports minister in which he accused the FA of paying bribes to match officials at World Cup qualifiers. In view of an upcoming World Cup Qualifying match against Egypt, utterances like this can mar the game and raise suspicion of match-fixing in the Egyptian media, he indicated.
The cumulative effect of the Sports minister’s utterances is that it is hurting the FA’s ability to attract sponsors. If the Sports minister keeps saying the local league is not attractive, how do you expect corporate institutions to sponsor it?, he asked.
According to him, all attempts to prevail on the Sports minister to refrain from using the media to address his concerns has failed even though the minister had at a meeting promised to stay away from the media.
“If you give the impression that when you engage the person internally and he promises not to do again but does it then it merits a response,” he said.
Saani Daara said the FA maintained a “respectful silence towards him until things started to look really, really bad”.
“We expect the minister to be our chief patron…but unfortunately the opposite is true,” he lamented.
Nii Lante warns ‘small boys’ of GFA
Reacting to the issues, Nii Lante Vanderpuye said the GFA is disrespectful towards his office.
He accused Saani Daara and other officials of “allowing their surrogates to insult the minister and insult my position”.
Nii Lante expressed displeasure that the FA had the “audacity to refer to me as a serial caller”.
“Where I come from, you don’t insult elders…you show respect to people who are older than you….GFA works under the ministry of sports and they must show respect to the position I am holding.”
The minister, however, defended a leaked WhatsApp chat, in which he described an FA official as ‘okrasini’ (villager). “What is wrong with that?” Nii Lante Vanderpuye said.
He refrained from engaging Saani Daara. “I don’t respond to issues from spokespersons of the FA. I respond to elected officials of the FA” he maintained.