The last six months haven’t witnessed the best days for the management of the beautiful game of football in the former Gold Coast colony – Ghana.
The tsunami of Anas Aremeyaw Anas left nothing tangible in the wake of its devastating exposé.
The shake-up has left indelible wreckage in administration personnel and the foundational basis for football in Ghana.
This prompted FIFA to set up a Normalization Committee to run the day to day affairs of the game. The Normalization Committee has a short lifespan of six months. During this period it’s supposed to organise elections for a new president and members of the Executive Committee.
Even before this assignment sees the light of day the media landscape has been awash with speculations as to which personalities could ascend the presidency of the GFA.
As a keen observer of the football landscape, I have discerned a few names that have resonated the walls of the media, corridors of political power and the terrain of football politics and gossip.
The men whose names have popped-up as possible candidates for the Ghana FA seat include Alhaji Abdul Karim Gruza – President of King Faisal Football Club, Kudjoe Fianoo – Chairman of GHALCA, Fred Pappoe of Great Olympics Football Club, Kweku Eyiah of the former Executive Committee, George Afriyie a former Vice President of the GFA, Randy Abbey a former spokesperson of the GFA, Kurt Okraku – Executive Chairman of Dreams FC, Wilfred Kwaku Osei – President of Tema Youth FC, Nana Yaw Amponsah a FIFA licensed Agent and Wilson Arthur an MCE.
Before we delve into the demerits and merits of each candidate let us draw up a set of criteria to determine their eligibility or otherwise.
The criteria should cover educational and professional background, relevant work experience in football management, integrity and personality traits.
Educational and Professional Background
Alhaji Gruzah doesn’t have any formal classroom training in secular education. He therefore scores the lowest marks here. However, nothing can be taken away from Alhaji Gruzah as he has enough Arabic education useful for the management of any institution.
Kudjoe Fianoo comes second from bottom as his highest academic qualification is a diploma in journalism from the Ghana Institute of journalism.
Third from bottom is George Afriyie whose highest academic qualification is a Higher National Diploma from Accra Polytechnic.
On the score of academic qualification only, the above three may lack the requisite intellectual acumen to steer the affairs of the FA.
Fred Pappoe, Kurt Okraku, Kweku Eyiah, Wilfred Osei, Wilson Arthur, Randy Abbey and Nana Yaw Amponsah hold post Graduate qualifications.
In terms of ranking, all except, Randy Abbey obtained University degree qualifications from formal class room settings and, therefore, earn marks a notch higher than him.
Relevant Work Experience
Fred Pappoe and George Afriyie are former Vice Presidents of the GFA and appear to be the highest ranked officials from the lot.
Apart from Nana Yaw Amponsah and Wilson Arthur, the rest have served on the Executive Committee of the GFA one time or the other in past.
In ranking Fred Pappoe and George Afriyie rank highest followed by the former members of the GFA Executive Committee before Wilson and Nana Yaw Amponsah.
Nana Yaw Amaponsah’s experience as a FIFA agent or intermediary disqualifies him from the race because officers of his kind are not eligible to hold positions in the FA.
Wilson Arthur doesn’t have the requisite experience to lead the GFA. Perhaps, he will bank on his recent relationship with a Division One club in the Western Region but will that be enough?
The biggest test for today’s office holders is integrity. As of now not much can be said about the integrity of the above officers. They are all presumed to have it. However, let’s dig deeper into the roles of some of them in their previous roles In football.
Kudjoe Fianoo: He has questions to answer as Administrative Manager of GHALCA when he was alleged to have forged the signature of a GHALCA chairman on a Bank cheque. It’s still a crime if proven to be true because crimes are not time barred.
He has questions to answer as CEO of Ashantigold when he was alleged to have paid signing-on and transfer fees even for floating players purchased by the club. An audit report contains a series of allegations which are yet to be determined.
Above all, Kudjoe Fianoo as Welfare Officer of the Black Stars was found to have been deeply involved in fixing matches with the Black Stars. During one such occasion he received and shared $25k as “bribe” in the 2001 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Ghana.
As a compromise the goalkeeper Osei Boateng was red-carded in the match. His place was taken by an outfield player Emmanuel Osei Kufuor who conceded 3 goals.
Following this disgraceful practice Ghana never qualified to the FIFA World Cup until Fianoo was removed as a welfare officer in 2004. Since 2005 Ghana qualified to three successive FIFA World Cup competitions in 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Fred Pappoe:It’s still mind boggling that the 2014 inquiry into Ghana’s participation in the Brazil World Cup didn’t ask him questions about organization of friendly matches from 2006 to 2012 when he was in charge yet the same committee considered the incomes/revenues from the previous World Cups under his tutelage. He must also extricate himself from allegations of corruption during the Midsea Scandal.
Kurt Okraku: The CAS decision on the Tema Youth – Dreams FC case readily comes to mind. Did CAS indict him for his perceived role in circumvention of transfer rules? Is it true that the next Anas Exposé of will highlight him in another corruption scandal in football?
Wilfred Osei: Is it true that he was involved in a recorded conversation with a referee to compromise the outcome of a league game?
Randy Abbey: Together with Fred Pappoe and other officials of GFA, they were involved in corruption in the organization of friendly matches and corruption under the Midsea Scandal?.
As a spokesperson of the GFA did he ever issue a press statement under his hand? Was that a sign of incompetence?
George Afriyie: As Chairman of the Management Committee of the Black Stars, did he receive a “bribe” for the invitation of a player into the team for the 2017 AFCON. There’s a rumor that he may be captured in the next Exposé of Anas on corruption in football.
Nana Yaw Amponsah: As a player agent is he not technically disqualified from contesting any position on the Executive Committee of the GFA?? Is Nana Yaw so desperate to ascend the GFA Presidency to the extent that he decided to sponsor some club administrators to the recently held Wyscout Conference in The Netherlands and Soccerex Forum in the US? Isn’t it bribery of officials?
Fianoo, Pappoe, and Abbey have not hidden their hatred and disdain for certain personalities at the ill-fated GFA elections where they lost positions. Such traits do not augur well for leadership for public service. Their reign will be characterized by retaliation, power struggle and in-fighting. What the GFA needs is healing reconciliation and accommodation of divergent views of opinions and people.
Afriyie’s temperament is driven by hysteria and an attitude of speak-before-you-think. This is informed by his limited managerial experience in a formal workplace.
Eyiah may not be ready for this level of responsibility. He’s easily carried away by the euphoria of leadership.
Okraku/Osei/Amponsah: they stand tall except Amponsah’s technical knock-out and perceived bribery attempts.
Gruzah: Gruzah may want to polish his skills in formal education for a role in the new GFA but the presidency.