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07.04.2020 Feature Article

Osei Kofi on the Ball! – Part Two

Osei Kofi on the Ball! – Part Two
LISTEN APR 7, 2020

Osei Kofi might have been on the ball and well-positioned himself “dangerously” to strike a goal all right; but when I began writing this article, it was actually Joe Dakota that I was thinking about. If memory serves me accurately, Joe Dakota has the singular distinction of being the Roger Milla of Ghanaian soccer; the Sakora Man was still actively playing Division One soccer when he was 45-plus years old. And when yours truly left Ghana in July of 1985, “Big Joe” was still playing soccer and loving the game. Today, I don’t know whether he is still with the rest of us not. For me in particular, though, what makes Joe Dakota a memorable personality and one heck of a fascinating character is the fact that he seemed to have enjoyed the game itself more than whatever financial gains or emoluments accrued to him.

If I recall accurately, Joe played for the Agona-Swedru All Blacks Soccer Club. I make the foregoing remark because a couple, or so, days ago, I came across a brief news story in which the Rev. Osei Kofi was reported to have scolded Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, the well-known Ghanaian journalist and former editor of Ghana’s flagship newspaper, The Daily Graphic, for supposedly having been “a little girl” who did not know or understand what she was talking about. I found Rev. Osei Kofi’s snide remark to be both amusing and annoying at the same time, because those of us who know anything about the social history of Ghana are well aware of the fact that both Elizabeth Ohene and Osei Kofi are about exactly the same age; so for the legendary Kumasi Asante-Kotoko football star to be disdainfully calling his coequal in the discipline of journalism and, to be certain, an accomplished columnist and editor “a little girl” inexcusably smacks of sexist and misogynistic condescension of the kind that the women of the # MeToo Movement, here in the United States, and elsewhere around the globe, have been fiercely fighting against for quite a considerable while now.

So, definitely, the Rev. Osei Kofi must not be allowed to get away with such a scandalous accusation, actually slandering, or raw disdain for one of Ghana’s finest, if not the greatest and most progressive media professionals of inimitable genius. Well, I understand that the issue over which the Kumasi Asante-Kotoko soccer-star and former Skipper of the country’s senior national team, the Black Stars, “clashed” – they did not actually clash, in the pugilistic sense, of course – had to do with an incident which occurred in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in 1970, or thereabouts, during the African Cup of Nations Tournament, in which the players of the Black Stars threatened to hang their boots and their jerseys, unless certain financial terms or conditions were promptly met by the administrators of the National Sports Council or the Sports Council of Ghana, depending on whether your idiom of choice is either English or French, that is, either the SCG or the GSC.

I firmly believe that Ms. Ohene was perfectly within her rights to let the Ghanaian people become fully aware of the fact that oftentimes, in the telling of the story or stories of the great achievements of Ghanaian soccer players and legends, it is equally significant to highlight the fact that there have been quite a slew of inglorious moments in which the perceived inordinate greed and rudeness of some of these soccer players may very well have resulted in the loss of a championship position or ranking or victory for the entire nation. Ms. Ohene, reportedly, thinks that this was precisely what happened in Khartoum during the African Cup of Nations, presently renamed AFCON, tournament. Ms. Ohene is perfectly within her rights to make such judgment call because oftentimes when the history of legendary Ghanaian soccer stars is told, this is invariably in the maudlin and self-pitying trend of narrative which tends to inordinately emphasize how these supposedly selfless players who gave their all to their country almost, each and every one of them, ended up callously neglected and pauperized by the leaders and the very people to whom they had given so much.

You see, Dear Reader, what Ms. Ohene clearly sought to do in her column, which was written and published nearly a year ago, we are informed, was obviously intended to set the records straight. Even if in the retailing of the details, the Ho-Abutia, Volta Region, native got some of her facts and/or figures wrong, still, somebody with the requisite “balls” or courage needed to step up to the plate and even out the scores, which well appears to have been the overriding objective of the former BBC-African Service staffer or correspondent, I forget which.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

April 4, 2020

E-mail: [email protected]

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