NO TIME FOR PETTINESS, UNCLE BEN – SOCCER TALK The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. - Confucius The aftermath of last week's historic victory over South Africa has left some members of the outgoing management board of the FA led by its loquacious Chairman, Ben Koufie at their effusive best.
Obviously hallucinated by that historic victory, the Chairman of the FA has used every interview opportunity granted him to settle unnecessary scores with a section of the media for its role in the events preceding the appointment of coach Mariano Baretto.
Last Tuesday's Soccer Express editorial dealt with this issue and I also briefly talked about it in Wednesday's edition but I have decided to come back to it because the outgoing Chairman has spewed more venom since those publications and has shown no signs of backing out from this pettiness at the expense of the game's development.
I have noticed Uncle Ben since his ascension to the seat of the FA chairmanship as a great talkative but I least expected the outgoing chairman to engage in such unnecessary talk particularly at this time that the country is preparing seriously to play Zambia in the final Olympics qualifier.
Dazed by that victory in South Africa because of the success drought his administration suffered, Ben Koufie has been jumping from one interview to the other claiming credit for the victory and simultaneously spewing his venom on the media who he childishly perceives as the enemy.
From all the interviews Uncle Ben has been granting since that victory one can only deduce one thing from it: a desperate outgoing chairman trying to hide behind a last minute victory to cover up his administration's failures.
If not why would a whole FA Chairman whose administration supervised the game's further deterioration in his three-year stay in office be thinking of vindication? Maybe Uncle Ben has not realized the enormity of his administration's failures and has thus been deceived into believing that by portraying the press as the enemies Ghanaians may forget the highest level of managerial failures he and his team chalked.
In as much as it was the responsibility of Uncle Ben as the boss of Ghana football to recruit a good coach for the country, so was it the duty of the press to expose to their readers, listeners and the nation as a whole the real issues on the ground. The media's audience can only be informed when facts are presented or wrongs exposed.
Is it because of this natural duty the press undertook that Ben Koufie is ranting and raving all over? Was Mr. Koufie expecting the Ghanaian media to keep quiet when the discrepancies were so obvious? Why didn't Uncle Ben describe Tony Owusu Amofah, formerly of Radio Gold as an 'enemy' when his warning on Milan Zivadinovic turned out to be true?
None of the media houses described Baretto as a mason or carpenter but only reported facts, which were supported by the Portuguese FA so where from these bunkum that the press said Baretto was a mason and a carpenter?
I wonder if Uncle Ben could have been bold enough to come on air defending the coach if his first two matches had resulted in defeats. I can assure you that the outgoing chairman of the FA would have turned his back on Baretto like the way he did to Ziva and Burkhard even though he had confidence in them at the time of their appointment.
I find it difficult to believe why the same Ben Koufie who criticized the media for hiding Ziva's track record from the FA, would today engage in such high double standards by attacking the media for giving information on an incoming coach.
In one of Uncle Ben's various score-settling interviews, he tongue-lashed the media for throwing away the proverbial Ghanaian hospitality to give Baretto a hostile reception. Ben Koufie believes the questioning of the coach's CV by the media amounted to hostile reception and was unGhanaian.
Wasn't Uncle Ben in this country when the Appointments Committee of Parliament conducted thorough investigations on an appointed minister who was alleged to have spiced up his CV when he appeared before the committee for confirmation? Was that hostile treatment this time from a Ghanaian towards a fellow Ghanaian? How would Mr. Koufie describe situations where students are sacked from the universities for spicing up their results to gain admission to the university? Again how would Mr. Koufie have reacted upon the realization that his General Secretary, Kofi Nsiah falsified his CV to get his position?
Uncle Ben may think he is settling scores with the media on behalf of the coach and perhaps use the occasion to cover his flaws but the actuality is that he is unnecessarily opening healed
wounds and thereby trying to create non-existent enemies for the coach. Does Uncle Ben think that the media, especially those who talked about the CV were rooting for the South Africans against the Meteors? Why then does Ben Koufie's outfit continue to send press releases to media houses when he perceives them as enemies? It would only be good for Uncle Ben not to dine with the 'devil' because almost all the sporting media, both electronic and print talked about this issue.
The media may have raised some concerns in the run up to the appointment of Baretto but the most important thing after his appointment was to let sleeping dogs lie by offering him the needed support, at least in the interest of the nation and the media have done just that since the coach's appointment.
A section of the English press for instance strongly objected to the appointment of Sven Goran Ericsson as national team coach claiming that the move was an insult to local coaches. Haven't they now cooperated with him in the interest of the English game?
The ranting and raving of Uncle Ben can only be deduced as those of a disenchanted chairman hiding behind non-issues to eclipse his failures. Uncle Ben should be told in plain terms that he doesn't love Ghana football more than anyone so he should spare us such pettiness. I can only advice Uncle Ben that this is not the time to muddy the waters. He should use the time to
prepare his handing over notes rather than using it to open healed wounds.
Soccer Express 2.032 19/03/2004