The chairman of the Presidential Commission Inquiry probing events surrounding Ghana’s uninspiring campaign in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has questioned the grounds for the shabby treatment of the national amputee football team by managers of the sport.
Justice Senyo Dzamefe was not happy with complaints that the team which has played in two amputee World Cups and a number of times in the African Cup of Nations, has been paid scant national attention and left to fend for itself over the years even though it has been doing the name of the country a lot of pride.
On Wednesday the chairman of the Ghana Amputee Football Association, Rev. Richard Nii Amartey Adesa and Kofi Asare, captain of the Ghana Amputee Football team appeared before the Commission to narrate the ill-treatment they have had to endure in the service of the country.
They pleaded with the commission to assist the team get the relevant authorities to settle the team’s indebtedness to creditors and also pay them some attention, previous appeals for which they say have usually fallen on deaf ears.
The pair said among other things, that the amputee team was the first ever to win the amputee football version of the African Cup of Nations, and has been Africa’s highest achieving team at the world cup with a quarter-final berth. Besides, five players of the team are now playing professionally.
But all these have been achieved on the back of worrying frustrations they have had to endure in their qualifying matches. Even then they have again qualified for the next world cup in Kenya.
Commission member Moses Foh Amoaning, who has himself experienced at first hand the indignity of the lack of attention, including publicity, for the so-called lesser sports, asked the media to give attention to happenings in other sporting circles instead of always focusing on the than the Black Stars.
But Justice Dzamefe, obviously unhappy with the situation, pointed out that once the amputee team has been flying the flag of Ghana they deserve some recognition, questioning whether in the face of their treatment, it was worth dying for the country.
“But this nation, seriously, look at people who could have been sitting by the roadside begging for money but say no, we’ll represent our nation, we’ll fight for our flag and we treat them like that. Is it worth dying for the country? Is it worth dying for the country? Because they are physically challenged, so they don’t deserve what others deserve? Do they have a different flag from the green, red, yellow and the black star?
Do they have a different flag? The national anthem that is played when they are going onto the field is it not the same? So why do we treat them like that? Should they win medals what do they bring then? Whose flag is raised when they win medals, is it not the same Ghana? Please, please, the powers that be in charge of our sports, football and all others, sit down, sit up and do your job.”
Justice Dzamefe who was enthused by the achievements of the team in spite the challenges it faced, continuously asked the sitting to applaud the team.
The amputee team was requested to document its concerns and submit same to the commission to enable it pursue its requests.