Although Kwesi Nyantakyi is facing a lifetime ban from all football-related activities, his hand was all over the voting process in the just ended GFA presidential elections, which saw the election of Kurt E.S Okraku as the new FA boss.
George Afriyie became a permanent enemy of Kwesi Nyantakyi after his infamous text to the former GFA capo, referring him as greedy and selfish. This led to Afriyie’s sack as Vice President of the GFA. In the aftermath, he openly declared his ambitions to contest for the GFA presidency.
READ MORE: Biography of new GFA President, Kurt Okraku
It is an open secret that loyalists of Kwesi Nyantakyi believe George Afriyie was one of the reasons why Nyantakyi was ousted from office through the Anas exposé.
You can criticise the Wa All Stars owner for all you care, but the fact is that a lot of football administrators in Ghana owe their allegiance to him, following his 13-year reign.
He gave people the opportunity to work at CAF as match coordinators and on other CAF committees. Some club administrators also often went to him for money whenever they were in need.
So, although the Anas exposé named and shamed him for receiving a sum of money which was perceived to be bribe, most of the so-called football people didn’t see anything wrong with it. For them, Nyantakyi was victimised by his enemies.
The Ghana football fraternity was thrown into a state of shock when George Afriyie was floored by Kurt Okraku on Friday at the Physician and Surgeon Council in Accra to claim the GFA presidency.
George Afriyie’s defeat could be attributed to being overconfident (and he sometimes appeared to be cocky prior to the election), but we shouldn’t downplay the influence the former CAF 1st Vice President had on the election.
Nyantakyi is recognised as a hero by most Ghanaian football administrators and they were ready to affirm their loyalty to him by going against anything that stood against him.
Kwesi Nyantakyi chose Osei Kweku Palmer over Kurt Okraku in the run for the GFA presidency. He even travelled with him to Dormaa to pay a courtesy call on the Aduanahene, Nana Agyemang Badu II, which faced backlash from the youth of the township.
The dynamics were that Palmer would have gotten the backing of all the loyalists of Nyantakyi during the polls, had he been passed to contest.
The bankroller of Tema Youth was, however, disqualified from the race by the vetting committee set up by the Normalisation Committee (NC).
After Palmer fell out of the race, it was clear that Kwesi Nyantakyi would let his loyalists throw their weight behind Kurt E.S Okraku. Actually, Kurt is one of the people admired by Nyantakyi and it was reported that he was the next person in line for the position of GFA Vice President, following the sack of Afriyie, but he faced opposition from a section of the Executive Committee (now Executive Council). This was before the Number 12 exposé came up and led to the end of Nyantakyi’s reign.
Kwesi Nyantakyi, who according to reports had vowed to witness the defeat of George Afriyie in the elections, was always ready to let his favourites team-up with any candidate against the owner of Okyeman Planners if Kurt Okraku wasn’t even in the contest.
The saying that your enemy’s enemy is your friend would have come to play in this regard. Reports that circulated at the Elective Congress suggested Nyantakyi was even ready to spend $1m dollars just to see George Afriyie lose.
So, one could say that George Afriyie was overconfident and he was too outspoken and cocky in the business end of the GFA presidency. But, I believe that even aside from these factors, he would have lost anyway, because of the Kwesi Nyantakyi factor.
George Afriyie was surrounded by a lot of loyalists of Kwesi Nyantakyi, but the man who claims to be well experienced in football electoral processes - having won several GFA elections and followed Nyantakyi to win elections at WAFU, CAF and FIFA - was beaten to his own game by the architect himself.
It was reported that Afriyie had 80 delegates in his camp the morning before the GFA elections and gathered them at Derrick Boateng’s Hotel at Achimota. So, how did he poll just 40 votes in the first round?
Some people were confused where to cast their votes, but it was settled the night before and on the morning of the election, when several calls and meetings supposedly arranged by Kwesi Nyantakyi went through.
If Osei Palmer had not been disqualified, the three leading candidates would give spread the votes and second round would have been on the cards.
However, there would have been a compromise between Kurt Okraku and Osei Palmer to form an alliance to beat George Afriyie. Okraku and Palmer couldn’t agree on one stepping down for another to stand, but it would have been sorted out this time around.
So, one could say that Kurt was the one who benefitted the most from Osei Palmer’s disqualification, but Afriyie per the permutation would have lost anyway because of the Kwesi Nyantakyi factor.
Technically, it could be said that Nyantakyi decided this election, despite currently serving a ban.