Minister Must Go! Pressure Hits Mahama
ANGRY GHANAIANS are calling for the heads of officials who led the national team – Black Stars – to the ongoing World Cup tournament, particularly the Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.
Their call stems from the inability of the team to proceed to the knockout stage of the soccer fiesta.
The Black Stars crashed out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil Thursday after suffering two defeats at the group stage of the tournament, earning only one point in three games, despite mouthwatering incentives doled out to them.
The poor organization before and during the event is what is making Ghanaians mad – calling for the minister’s dismissal by President John Mahama or resignation – an agitation that has been supported by Joseph Kobina
Ade Coker, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Greater Accra Regional chairman, who was a football administrator.
‘Those that have been entrusted with the destiny of the team haven’t shown leadershipThe President has entrusted responsibility into the hands of certain people. We should hold them responsible for everything.
We have to hold them responsible for bringing his administration into disrepute,’ Mr. Ade Coker said on Adom FM yesterday.
Ade Coker was particularly worried about the embarrassment caused the nation by the poor organization of events in Brazil, blaming the Sports Ministry and by extension, the minister and GFA.
He exempted President Mahama from blame since ‘he made sure that everything that the team wants was provided. Those who were entrusted to do the job; they have let him down.’
Ghana’s participation in the World Cup was botched with myriad problems resulting in negative publicity for the country in local and international media, including the airlifting of over $3 million cash to pay players and officials’ appearance fees.
The team’s early exit from the tournament was equally blamed on poor handling of the events leading to the tournament, culminating in some players exchanging blows with officials.
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) is equally outraged about the sending of over $3 million via a chartered flight, to the team in Brazil, describing it as an ‘unlawful act.’
Aside the issue about the delay in paying the appearance fees to the 23-man squad which nearly resulted in the players boycotting the match between Ghana and Portugal, there were also challenges involving airlifting of supporters, poor accommodation for supporters and non-payment of allowances to them, among others.
Callers into various radio stations yesterday could not fathom why all these problems reared their ugly heads despite assurances from government, the Kwesi Nyantakyi-led Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the organising committee headed by Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.
Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., who spoke on Accra-based Peace FM, stressed the urgent need for investigations into the activities and operations of the Sports Ministry and the GFA before, during and after the tourney.
‘Accountability is very important so the officials will tell the country the amount of money they spent for the tournament to the last pesewa,’ he said.
This, he said, was because, ‘We cannot sit by and let such a huge amount go waste without rendering accounts. We will insist that they give account of every pesewa they spent for the World Cup. Such an amount being spent without they bringing even a wooden world cup to show for their efforts cannot be tolerated.’
President Mahama himself has called for a ‘postmortem’ to ‘see what went wrong and fix it.’
‘We need to look at the team as a whole. I guess when the FA comes we need to set up a kind of committee to look at the whole system of what happened in Brazil 2014 right from the preparation to the World Cup to when they went to Brazil and what happened in Brazil. We need to do a whole post-mortem,’ he said in a statement.
GBA Blasts Gov’t
The GBA said it read with concern that huge sums of money had been physically airlifted from Accra to the players in Brazil and said, ‘It casts a very negative picture of Ghana to the outside world.’
The GBA indicated, ‘At a time that the Bank of Ghana is making strenuous efforts to stabilise the cedi, it is totally imprudent that the football players could be allowed to ride roughshod over the whole country.’
Whims & Caprices
‘The GBA find it an affront to the Rule of Law and the principle of Equality before the Law that the Government on the spur of the moment, found it prudent to disregard the law and legally binding directives and pander to the whims and caprices of the Senior National team, the Black Stars,’ a statement issued in Accra and jointly signed by Nene Amegatcher, national president and Justin Amenuvor, national secretary said.
The association said its investigations revealed that there was an agreement with the players that their appearance fees and allowances would be paid into their bank accounts, but midstream the players insisted on being paid physical cash with the threat not to continue to participate in the competition and thereby stampeded the authorities into physically transporting that colossal sum of money from Accra to Brazil.
The GBA said such acts ‘are not only a betrayal of the citizenry, especially business people who have painstakingly had to abide by the law and directives of the Bank of Ghana at the expense of their business interests, but also smacks of lawlessness and a bad example to the people of Ghana.
‘The Black Stars players are not above the law and the GBA can find no justification for an exception to be made for them.
‘Ghana, unfortunately, has in the last 48 hours become the laughingstock of the global media because of government’s decision to mobilise and airlift Millions of United States Dollars in cash to Brazil.’
It continued, ‘Government must be seen to be leading the line in playing by the rules set by law and institutions of state and not assist a group of people to break the law. This is utterly despicable!’
Sulley & Kevin
The statement also commended the GFA officials who were bold to sack AC Milan’s Sulley Ali Muntari and Schalke 04’s Kevin-Prince Boateng from the team’s camp on disciplinary grounds.
‘The GBA calls upon the leadership of the Ghana Football Association, the Ministry of Sports and Parliament to fashion out a strict code for the use of footballers and other sports personalities in any future event relating to discipline in camp and the payment of bonuses and allowances.’
BY Charles Takyi- Boadu & William Yaw Owusu
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