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Sports News | May 20, 2004

Common Sense: Playing "Ball" With Our Soccer

Chronicle

Sports! Oh Sports! Sports is a passion to me and I believe that if I stick to discussion Sports, I may not get discussed on Metro TV's Good Morning Ghana newspaper review programme.

Kweku Sekyi-Addo of The Front-Page would not like to blow his horn and I also feel I should not do the same. However I will like to pay tribute to Snr. Goro formally of Pope John Secondary School who was one of my guardians. He allowed me to follow him to the field and imitate him while he practiced his hop, step and jump. Great tribute and gratitude to Mr. Stephen Sedenkor my sports master who spotted the talent in me and sharpened all rough edges to make me the top field and track athlete during my time in the Eastern Region. I cannot also forget Mr. Samuel Yeboah and Mr. Asare now of the Police Service both of whom were among those who really worked on me.

In the end I became a top athlete in my field in the National Academicals need I go on?

No, that is not the issue today! I have this passion for sports and it hurts me when all the wrong things are professionally been done to bring down sports in this country.

Gone were the days, when the second string of the nation's sprint squad could beat the Nigerian first team. Gone were the days, when despite the cheating and exploitation of sports men and women, the love for the sports made our athletes excelled beyond the skies.

Now are the days when nothing seems to be done professionally and everything seems to go berserk.

The previous GFA Administration came with such a strong team that one would think that the advent of the end of our woes were nigh. With Mr. Ben Koufie and Abedi Ayew Pele around we knew we could safely go to sleep.

However whatever happened? We had nightmares upon nightmares. Nothing seemed to work to the extent that even the common definition of Unqualified Player, was very hard to come by.

Yet both gentlemen were once football's synonyms in the country. As it was the Premier Soccer League ended without an official league table. And the GFA was having a bumper harvest of court cases against it.

In the end, while some nations in Africa are about to end the first rounds of their soccer league, GFA and Ghana are debating how to start ours. The new GFA have also come out with a strange solution go cut a short path through the woods. I can see problems ahead.

From all indications, this new form of league in which the nation is going to be zoned into two would be very unfair to some teams in general and to Ghana in particular.

Looking at the strength of the teams it is obvious that one zone is more star-studded than the other. In the end it could be obvious that we could have weaker representatives to Africa next year.

I will suggest that we have either of these two systems if indeed time is not on our side.

Firstly I believe we can run a full 30 match league within fifteen weeks, which could last almost four months.

Since we have a professional league system, I do not think team managers would have any excuse not to feature twice a week. This way they can expose all registered players.

With about eight weeks of break, the league could end in November just in time for registration of teams and players into Africa. That is assuming the league kicks off on June 2, 2004.

On the other if this not feasible, the GFA could seed the teams under the top four on the league table. There would then be four groups of four teams each. The groups could also play twice a week for three weeks. Then the top two in say Group "A" would join the top two in Group "C" to form another group. Groups "B" and "D" would also do the same. The two groups would then play among themselves on two matches a week basis. Then after another three weeks the top two in each group would also be engaged in another league section to finally determine the champion club and the runners-up.

The four bottom clubs in the first elimination series would then meet at their own convenience to sort themselves out as to who gets eliminated.

The period to decide who the top four teams are would take only nine weeks. This I believe would be most competitive and bring the best out the teams and we would have worthy champions.

As it is now, the currently considered league system is like having a 100 meter sprint race and insisting that only the top two are champions. Meanwhile in one group the slowest runner clocks 10:00 seconds flat, while in the other the fastest clocks 10:10 seconds. This cannot be fair. Let those with ears, hear!

Currently I am most impressed by the culture of brotherliness between Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak. However some folks want to spoil this as some Hearts fans were angered about the fact that they were not given the Accra Sports Stadium to play their friendly international with the Benin National Team. They felt ugly politics gave Kotoko and Olympics the National Wembly to honor a match in memory of the Victims of the May 9 Disaster.

They should consider the fact that Hearts of Oak should have honor the match against Kotoko since it was both teams which when playing each other the disaster occurred. Also the fact that it occurred at the Accra Sports Stadium meant that, that should be the venue for the match. Could they also consider that the Kotoko team missed an important function in Kumasi, which was the venue of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the enthronement of the King of Asante, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II who is also the owner and life patron of the team? Besides that it was Akwasidae Kese the greatest festival in Asanteman.

Another thing I would like our new GFA to address is that primitive issue of playing it foul to Ghanaian teams when we go abroad to play some other African teams.

This year we thought Hearts of Oak had the worse treatment from the Malians.

However what Kotoko went through from an Ivorian referee and the fact that the Algerians wet the field, showed that some African nations are still in the Stone Age.

Why the CAF executives are silent on such issues is amassing. Why they cannot call a halt to such crude methods of winning matches confirms speculations that the Francophones are in league with the Arabs to ditch the Anglophones.

Our new GFA must come out with a loud protest against such awkward behaviors and state conditions which if not met, we would withdraw from CAF and play only FIFA matches. The next step is to rally as much Anglophone countries behind us to form our own group and play matches among ourselves.

Seriously with such lack of professionalism among the CAF officials, how can Issa Hayatou lay claim on FIFA's top post?

I hear the Arabs were not happy for losing the slot to host the World Cup 2010. Well this is how the world is. What goes up must come down and what goes round must turn round.

When South Africa put up their first bid, they lost narrowly to Germany. The whole world was blaming a poor New Zealander for voting against South Africa.

What most people failed to realize was that the whole of the Arab FAs voted for Germany, not because they hated South Africa, but because they had a problem with FIFA boss Blatter.

The old man refused to give another place to Asia even though there was a co-hosting of two Asian nations, South Korea and Japan. And since they knew Blatter supported an African bid, they voted against South Africa. Today when they lost to South Africa they are in tears.

The new GFA must take immediate steps to restore Ghana on the top of African Soccer nations. There should be the need to reorganize the youth teams and have a nursery team to feed the senior teams on regular basis.

We should have a Female Soccer league and take great care of our female soccer players.

Sports is a passion and we must stop playing "ball" with our soccer and other sports.

Oh how relaxing it is to write on soccer. Oh sports is a passion. I think I will be doing this more often.

But by the way why is that people like discussing national security issues and financial transactions on radio and television as if to say that they are expects on the subject?

Who ever said that some of the local banks refusal to lower their base rates has anything to do with what is on the ground? I do insist that the host must be more knowledgeable on the subject matter so that they can correct people who pretend to sleep and have answers to all problems but never the solution.

Now if a newspaper reporter states that a Minister of State removed an NDC guy from an academic board or something and the reporter claims he suspected political motives, and a member on the panel also states that if that should be true then it was bad, what wrong could I have done if I suggested that the Minister should be contacted before judgement was passed?

Moreover another contributor suggested that the NDC should not protest since when JAK gave their MP, Hon. Mike Gizo a post they were not happy, so why cry over Alabi, the host said the two were different. So why not find out from the Minister what demanded such a move.

Anyway as for me, I say we must not play "ball" with our soccer.

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