3-Man Team Probes World Cup

Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko and Moses-Foh Amoaning 
PRESIDENT JOHN Dramani Mahama has empanelled a three-member committee to probe circumstances that led to Ghana’s abysmal performance at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The committee, to be chaired by Justice Senyo Dzamefe of the Court of Appeal, will have Lawyer and Sports Administrator, Moses-Foh Amoaning and Sports Enthusiast, Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko, as members, and is expected to present its report within 30 days.

Unremorseful GFA
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) officials held their first news conference in Accra on Wednesday – after the Black Stars had been pushed out of the tournament by Portugal. It appeared that they were unremorseful in spite of the incidents in the camp of the Ghanaian team in Brazil, which have since reduced the country to a laughing stock in the eyes of the world.

Millions of dollars were spent on what many believe was shoddy preparation towards the tournament; and accusing fingers have been pointed at Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and Kwesi Nyantakyi, Youth and Sports Minister and President of the GFA respectively.

Terms Of Reference
A statement issued in Accra and signed by Mahama Ayariga, the new Minister of Youth and Sports, indicated that the setting up of the three-man team to review Ghana’s participation was in furtherance to President Mahama’s call for a probe into the team’s performance.

The three men are expected to ‘inquire into matters relating to Ghana’s Black Stars team’s preparation for the tournament and possible lapses therein which might have caused their early exit from the tournament, as well as inquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament.’

They will also ‘inquire into matters relating to Ghana’s treatment of Ghanaian football fans who were sent to support the Black Stars by the Ministry of Youth and Sports; advise government on the financing of activities of the Senior National Team and other national teams; as well as inquire into all other related matters of public interest concerning the organization of Ghana’s Black Stars’ participation in the tournament.’

Mr. Ayariga reiterated government’s commitment to act on the recommendations that would come from the committee, adding, ‘The government believes that a forward-looking inquiry will expose lapses to engender reforms to improve the organization of Ghana’s participation in future football tournaments.’

Worst Performance
The Black Stars were eliminated from the tournament at the group stage after drawing against Germany and losing to the USA and Portugal and it became the country’s worst performance at the World Cup.

The sacked Minister, Afriyie Ankrah and the GFA officials, particularly Kwasi Nyantakyi, are being accused by critics for the incidents in Brazil.

Allegations of financial impropriety and conflict of interest in the travel arrangement of the more than 600 Ghanaian football fans that were airlifted to Brazil have been attributed to the actions of the former Sports Minister and the GFA officials.

Tour Operators
For instance, Chief Executive of Kenpong Travel & Tours, Kennedy Agyapong, in an interview with host of Peace FM’s flagship programme, ‘Kokrokoo’, accused Mr. Afriyie Ankrah of breaching the terms of their contract by personally taking over the company’s responsibilities for providing transportation, feeding and accommodation for the teeming Ghanaian football fans in Brazil.

According to him, after airlifting 270 passengers to on the ticket of government, the former Sports Minister arrogated to himself some organizational responsibilities regarding the sponsorship of the supporters to the World Cup.

Chief Executive Officer of African Travel & Tours, Sampson Deen, also revealed that upon reaching Brazil, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah blacklisted him and his company from any further discussions regarding the wellbeing of the supporters, hence taking over the job of Travel & Tours.

Plethora Of Complaints
The Ghanaian contingent arrived in Ghana last Sunday, with a plethora of complaints from fans that were flown to Brazil.

They complained of being housed in leaking rooms infested with fleas.

Some of the supporters had allegedly queued to use the toilet facility.

Ghanaian ace midfielder, Kevin Prince Boateng, described the entire organization of Ghana’s trip to the globally acclaimed tournament as ‘corrupt’.

‘There are a lot of issues involving this team which Ghanaians don’t know so they say what they feel like.

They (officials) are all corrupt and they always want to make money from us without working for it. I know I may not be called into the team again but I’m highly elated that I belong to the anti-corrupt group in the team (Sulley, Dede Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Kwarasey, Kwadwo Asamoah, Essien and myself),’ he told a German newspaper in a no-hold-barred interview late last week.

‘Everything – the hotels, the flights -was amateurish,’ Kelvin Prince Boateng flared.

Appearance Fees
The situation in the Ghanaian camp eventually deteriorated when the players insisted on getting their ‘appearance fees’ paid in cash before they could play their last match against Portugal.

The match ended in Ghana’s 2-1 defeat, leading to the Black Stars’ ouster from the tournament.

Each player was entitled to a US$100,000 as his ‘appearance fee’ which was supposed to have been given to the players before the tournament started.

Chartered Plane
The rancor forced the Ghanaian government to order about US$4.5 million (the government insists it was $3.5 million) to be physically airlifted on a chartered plane to Brazil.

BYWilliam Yaw Owusu

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