AFCON 2021 probe needless – Jerome Otchere

Google search engine

We seem to have so much time on our hands in this country. Unfortunately, we use our abundance of time to primarily sit and talk with little or no action afterwards. And this is the chief reason, I believe any investigation into the Black Stars’ worst Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) appearance last month is unnecessary. 

We’ve all been disappointed with the failure of the senior national team to winless campaign at the recently held African football showpiece in Cameroon. We’ve been told of the massive government support the Ghana Football Association (GFA) received for instance, ahead of the team’s camping in Doha, Qatar. 

The powers that be expected the AFCON trophy. Government basically ensured good financial and logistical support with the assumption that, this time, maybe our long wait for an AFCON title will end. The wait is now 40 years old. In Cameroon, over half a million dollars was paid to players as appearance fees. 

It didn’t matter if injured players were shipped to the competition and also whether some players’ names only occupied spaces since they didn’t turn up. Tax payers’ money had to be spent and it was spent. Inviting the GFA to an emergency meeting, the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ letter termed the Black Stars’ performance as “abysmal”. 

Later, head coach Milovan Rajecvac was sacked with the Black Stars’ management committee reconstituted. In the wisdom of the GFA, it’s meaningless if a member of the previous committee is retained. And ahead of our crucial World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in March, a four-man technical team is now in place to handle the matches. 

The GFA’s plan is bereft of any farsightedness but we’ve to give them the benefit of the doubt. I narrated these just to establish the point that, it would’ve perhaps been okay to have Parliament’s Committee for Youth, Sports and Culture to learn from the GFA and other relevant sources what accounted for our worst AFCON outing through a probe. 

That investigation is needless. We we risk having a talk shop that will grab media headlines and afterwards, everyone goes to sleep. No action will be taken on anything. You can bet we’ll return to the same state soon. That’s how bad we use our time. 

At the Brazil 2014 World Cup Commission of Inquiry, we heard long, sometimes boring tales; we also saw elderly men shed tears on national television as we listened to big legal talk that capped weeks of razzmatazz. What exactly has changed after the commission’s report? Only last week, we saw in full force, a complete disregard for Government’s White Paper on the Commission’s recommendations on the composition of management committees for national teams. 

While the white paper speaks of a reduction to five, the membership of the newly reconstituted Black Stars management committee is seven. As law makers, what’s Parliament’s Committee for Youth, Sports and Culture’s take on that? In the face of such blatant violation of the white paper’s directive and other issues that weaken public confidence leadership, what exactly will another investigation lead to?

What became of the 2019 AFCON expenditure, not budget, whose details the former Youth and Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah, promised the Ghanaian public? Parliament’s Committee for Youth, Sports and Culture will perhaps help tax payers by letting them know the breakdown of the 2019 AFCON expenditure presented by the former Minister.

Indeed, no one can stop the committee from inviting GFA officials, Black Stars captain, Andre Ayew or anyone they deem fit for their investigation. It may however interest them to know that, not many fans have the confidence that, their investigation will have any effect. At best, even if there are disagreements, the consensus by football people is that, the GFA and the MOYS are taking steps to address Black Stars issues.

Maybe, we are all just content with that.

By Jerome Otchere, football journalist

Google search engine