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14.10.2003 Football News

Koufie 2nd term bid knocked out by public opinion

By Chronicle/Michael Oti Adjei
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If Ghana Football Association (GFA) chairman Ben Koufie was listening to Joy FM last Friday, he would have felt sick to the bones.

Koufie had declared on the station that he was interested in running for another term as head of Ghana football. It was a statement that generated so much interested, the station decided to put the issue up for discussion vie the innovative text poll.

It was the perfect opportunity for many football addicts to join in the debate and speak their mind. And strangely from the over 1,000 responses, there were few, less than 10%, in fact who thought the seventy one year old deserved to direct the future of Ghana football again.

Not only that but the reasons assigned by the no faction for their opposition to another Koufie term was most striking.

One text message said, “Leaders are retained based on the measure of progress made. Ghana football under Kofie had retrogressed so why give Koufie another term.”

Koufie naturally disputes the damming verdict he has received so far. For him, he has served his time with Ghana football well. He also adds that he would gladly accept the opportunity to go another lap if the decision makers call on him to.

For Koufie, verdicts like the one from Joy FM’s text poll only goes to re-affirm his belief that he wouldn’t ever get a fair deal from a Ghanaian public he considers biased against him.

Koufie is clear on the fact that Ghanaians simply don’t want to hear the truth and that his major crime so far has been to speak his mind without fear or favour on the major issues affecting the development of the game here.

It is why he remains unperturbed by all the criticism. “I would pursue my football dream to the bitterest end,” he claims.

The bitterest end he talks about could be personal but there are also far too many people who believe, based on his first years in charge that another term would be far too bitter for football.

The evidence against another Koufie term for them comes both from on and off the field of play.

For the first time in a decade no Ghana at the world U-17 and U-20 Cups. The tragedy is that the rot permeated the ranks of the senior national team who also failed to qualify for the 2004 nations cup all in one year.

But there is some compelling off-field evidence to look at too. The GFA’s crippling inability to get decent sponsorship for the national team is for many a reminder of its inability to manage Ghana football.

At the 2002 Nations Cup, bitter bickering and squabbling over team kits and food undid Ghana’s campaign. Morale dropped to the lowest ebb possible because the team spent too much time fighting and fending off taunts from opponents on how poor their kits looked all because the FA had struck a deal with Adidas that was incredibly poor.

That same tournament also said a lot about Koufie’s lack of man management skills. His open confrontation with players and now infamous taunts on the team’s return at the Kotoka International Airport left a nation shocked.

As the Ministry of Youth, Education and Sports ponders its options on which two it would nominate for the position, a few names would be inevitably bundled around as possible replacements.

Herbert Mensah’s name has made the rounds strongly but it is one that would generate great controversy and debate because of his ability to make and unmake things.

There is also Abedi Pele who seems to think he can reproduce the several years of thrills he gave us on the playing fields to the boardroom. Pele though was and is still a part of the Ben Koufie administration, which leaves question marks about his ability to perform in the minds of those for whom Koufie did no good.

Oheneba Charles has already done a great deal of talking about how he is in pole position for the job to friends. After his disastrous public relations performance in the wake of the poor outing in Tunisia 2004, Charles reckons this could be his moment to get back into big time football management.

Then of course there is Kojo Bonsu, who has over the last years mastered the art of propelling himself into a favourite position every time the GFA job comes up for grabs.

He and those with ambitions to occupy the seat, regarded as one of the hottest in the land, would however have to contend with Koufie who hasn’t given up hope yet.

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