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08.10.2008 Cup of Nations

I come to bury CAF

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle

The match between Asante Kotoko and Etoile d' Sahel of Tunisia over the weekend, at the Baba Yara Stadium, ended in a pulsating 2-2 drawn game.

In a group where each team held an iron grip and dominance at home, the apple cart seem to have been turned by Etoile, and Kotoko might have to fall on 'Soccermatics' (Soccer Mathematics) on the last day of matches to sail through.

The match, between two top African club sides and expected to generate all the fireworks and soccer artistry, rather ended up producing all the negative sides of football that FIFA's Fair play is trying hard to stamp out.

The behaviour, or rather misbehaviour of the Tunisian team in the said match has really stirred the hornet's nest and it is about time that lovers of the beautiful game of football pour their frustrations at the doorsteps of Issa Hayatou's Confederation of African Football (CAF).

This writer had really intended to go to town and take on all the football establishments for allowing this rot in our game to go on.

My anger was, however, appeased after the sentencing of the Tunisian Masseur by a Kumasi court for three days imprisonment. Maybe, he deserved more punishment than this for turning a game of soccer into an exchange of fisticuffs by heavily slapping a Ghanaian Policeman on football duty.

At least, this action by the court should serve as notice to those who think they can use the arena of football to perpetuate criminal acts and go scot free. Assault of any kind and everywhere that it occurs is pure and simply a criminal offence and it is about time that we remove the cloak of football to expose the miscreants in our game. I am expecting a congratulatory message from CAF to the Kumasi court for their decisive action.

How many times haven't we witnessed a game of football in Ghana, especially involving our clubs against North African opponents where for any little suspicion of bias, they have taken the game to ransom by attacking everyone in sight. Their sheer disregard for the laws of the game, especially when they visit the Black side of the continent, makes one impute other motives rather than matters of football for their inactions.

And for the crowd riots that erupted after the game, those fans who were involved should bow their heads in shame. For those fans who swore fire and brimstone on the Kotoko management and technical team, and threw any object they came across, at any target other than themselves, must learn to accept the result of the game in good faith and learn to channel their reservations through the appropriate quarters.

It is about time that CAF descends heavily on the miscreants of the game, on the likes of referee Kofi Codja, club officials who take the law into their own hands and the football fans who refuse to see the game as a sport where you either win, lose or draw.