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02.06.2004 Sports News

EDITORIAL: Football Blues

By Ghanaian Chronicle

THE RAPID elimination of our three leading football clubs from this year's continental clubs competitions organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has once again highlighted our shoddy, slapstick responses to the demands of modern soccer.

The bottom line, as everyone knows, is poor administration, period! And this is the more reason why the new boss of the Ghana Football Association, Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe has a most unenviable task to undertake. The rot in the administration of sports, especially football, the nation's most favourite, is so deep that it requires the strength of a Hercules, the wisdom of a Socrates and the ruthlessness of a Machiavelli to clean the mess. The least that can be done is to wish him well.

But beyond all this incisive insight into exactly what went wrong (a most Ghanaian trait) looms the question: How shall we proceed to regain and improve on our past sporting feats, a past rich with the titanic achievements of a newly-born African country of average size in boxing, in track and field, table tennis and above all, football? The Black Stars, under the late Ohene Djan, really DID SHINE!

The Chronicle knows how seriously Ghanaians take their football, and for good reason too. There can be no doubt that whenever our national team wins a match against a foreign team, the "feel-good" factor serves as a social cement that strengthens our patriotic sentiments, binding together a normally fractious and tribal-oriented people into one cohesive unit: GHANA.

Social scientists have a slew of theories, which seek to explain how sporting competitions affect human behaviour, positively and negatively. Much as The Chronicle cannot pronounce judgement in areas where we have little knowledge, we know it does not need the brains of a rocket scientist to rationally see where we tend to fail in our sporting endeavours.

We recall the lamentations of the Asanthene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the inauguration early this year of the new Kotoko Board of Directors. The Asantehene railed against the widespread corruption and even criminally negligent mal-administration within most Ghanaian football clubs as well as the institutions of state set up to regulate sports. Greedy and perverted self-seekers have insinuated themselves into powerful positions, and like termites are chewing and burrowing into the body of Ghana's football, weakening and destroying the structures.

The way we approach our preparations towards major football tournaments is, appalling, to say the least. At the very last minute, we assemble a hodge-podge of tired foreign-based players back home on holidays, throw in a few local boys for seasoning and before you can say Jack, you have a champion team!

And since most Ghanaians seem to believe that the God of Football is a Ghanaian too, we expect nothing less than success, short and simple! Who cares that the other team is also fervently praying to God?

Soccer has gone through an exponential growth since the end of World War II and is now approached like any business with all the available scientific skills to make it strong, solid and profitable.

There is nothing strange to success when sound policies are followed. There is no divine intervention when discipline, honesty and hard work contribute to enhance a situation.

This country, The Chronicle can testify, has all it takes to make us the "Brazil" of African football, potentially. What is needed first and foremost are honest and dedicated leaders to handle our various teams and state institutions involved. We urge Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe to try his best and more. His track record, if it is anything to go by, seems to indicate hopefulness, that he can effect some change.

In any case, since the newly introduced Confederations Cup tournament offers Kotoko and Hearts another chance to have a go, we wish them the best of luck. Liberty Professionals have earned a well-deserved pat on the back and also have a place in our prayers.

Meanwhile, we hope and pray that the Black Stars will prevail this weekend in Burkina Faso. We also hope that the league will proceed apace so that the players can do their work well. Practice makes perfect, is the saying.

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