... Fights To Overturn Laryea's Ban The Ghana Football Association's legal clout and ability to stand up to a perceived injustice will be put to a critical test in the coming months in its bid to overturn a ban that could effectively rule out Black Stars' key midfielder, Laryea Kingston, from the FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Calling it a travesty of justice, GFA President, Mr Kwasi Nyantakyi, has vowed to fight the case to its logical conclusion, but a CAF official believes that Ghana would be fighting a lost cause having blown away a fine opportunity to make a case against the ban.
“We'll pursue it [Kingston's ban] to its logical end because it's injustice at the highest level,” said Mr Nyantakyi, who last Tuesday went on the defensive by shifting the blame on communication difficulties as well as the application of two different laws by CAF in respect of protests.
However, a Ghanaian CAF official at the tourney told this paper he would be surprised if the GFA succeeds in getting Kingston's ban overturned. “I seriously doubt if the GFA can win this case; in my view they did not act on the matter with the urgency and professionalism expected of them. In any case, there were a number of us [Ghanaians] working for CAF at the tourney and the GFA could have fallen on us when they were in difficulty and needed some assistance,” said the source on condition of anonymity.
Kingston's real chances of playing at the World Cup depends on Ghana progressing past the group stages, as the midfielder must sit out of Ghana's Group E games against Italy, the Czech Republic and the United States.
The Russia-based midfielder was handed the severest of sanctions when he was slapped with a record four-match ban after being sent off in Ghana's Nations Cup group D clash with Senegal in Port Said, following an on-field punch-up with Senegal defender Habib Beye.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) subsequently rejected an appeal against his ban on the grounds that Ghana lodged the protest outside the stipulated three-hour deadline.
Faced with a backlash over the manner in which the GFA and the Stars handlers failed to act swiftly in the matter, Mr Nyantakyi at last Tuesday's press conference sought refuge in two different CAF laws being applied, one of which stipulates that appeals should be lodged within three hours after a match, while another states that an appeal can be lodged from the morning after the incident.
A rather blasé explanation the GFA President offered was that the Ghanaian officials were misinformed by a CAF official, who advised that the appeal be sent to CAF's headquarters in Cairo, instead of lodging it at the venue of the Local Organising Committee at Port Said as was a normal practice at all Nations Cup tournaments.
Telecommunications difficulties in establishing contact with CAF's fax line, the FA boss alleged, caused a delay in the dispatch of Ghana's appeal till after the three-hour deadline, thus pushing Ghana into a quagmire.
Last Tuesday the GFA President took an angry view of suggestion that their inaction was tantamount to a negligence of duty. CAF has put the blame squarely on the association for not acting within the stipulated deadline, and as a result the merit of Ghana's appeal was not considered at all.
CAF's Communication Director, Mr Suleiman Habuba, told the Graphic Sports that Ghana's officials should have acquainted themselves of the rules and regulations governing the tournament, instead of shifting the blame on the organising committee.
“This was a case that should be within the competence of Ghana's officials because with such cases time is of essence,” he answered in explaining the rejection of Ghana's appeal.