Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako - The Writer

You could easily see from the state of the art funeral of Mrs Evelyn Mainoo, wife of the late businessman, astute football administrator and philanthropist that the elders were right in their analogy that the crab does nor beget a bird.

S.K. Mainoo’s children put up such an exhilarating pomp and pageantry at the funeral grounds of the State House in Accra last Friday you would think it was a state funeral. Apart from the top class furnishings the memorable pictures of Mrs Mainoo’s in her teens including wedding pictures decorating both the outside and inner billboards, gave the function a royal spectacle. Seating

arrangements were perfect. The Anglican church paid a fitting tribute to Mrs Mainoo for her dedication and contribution to the church. A huge buffet lunch was served at the dome as the body was carried to the cemetery. A typical “Asante funeral” started after lunch and the arrival of President Akufo-Addo added more splendour to the function. This was a well-attended funeral by well-dressed middle class and high class ladies and gentlemen. 

Surprisingly not much was seen of the football fraternity where S.K. Mainoo belonged, dating back to the 60s. He was even chairman of the Ghana Football Association in 1981-82 Albeit his reign was short lived for it was the period one became GFA boss at the pleasure of the government.  Incredibly he was the 4th chairman to exit within four years following Major D. O Asiamah, Justice Isaac Aboagye, and Sam Okyere. He had massive credentials as football administrator at club level with Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

Indeed, as far back as 1971 when Kotoko won the Africa Cup for the first time he was a member of a four-man committee managing the club. Other members were Mr J. Acheampong, Kwame Adarkwa and Osei Kofi (players).

A real football lover, Mr Mainoo’s special interest was in colts players. He loved the colts so much so that in 1971 he organised a colts’ festival in Kumasi to honour an emerging star Kofi Nti. He invited four sports writers from Accra including yours truly, to cover the event. The others were late senior colleague Yaw Boakye Ofori Atta, Kidd Darko and Joe Aggrey. It was a Saturday function starting 10am

small digression here. We missed the 6am early STC bus to Kumasi and to catch up with the time we decided to hire a taxi to Kumasi. The taxi was charging 20 cedis STC was 1 cedi 60 pesewas per head.  The four of us didn’t have enough funds to charter the taxi. We however convinced the driver we would pay on arrival assuring him our sponsor S.K. Mainoo would willingly pay on arrival which he did. Note that there were no cell phones at the time.

It was a big festival and S.K was quite pleased with coverage in the media. Since then he took even more interest in activities of the sporting press. And some of us became family friends. In due course Mr Mainoo gave the Sports Writers   Association (SWAG) free access to hold our monthly meetings at his hotel in Adabraka, Accra called The Date.

In recognition of his continued benevolence to the SWAG, the Association appointed him patron to join pioneers like B.K. Edusei, Dr Nkansa Gyane, Mrs Theodosia Okoh, D.G Hathiramani and, A.D Beesley.  He continued to contribute immensely both in kind and cash to the activities of SWAG.

When SWAG voted Abedi Ayew colts player of the year in 1977, S.K offered to sponsor his secondary school education at Ghana Secondary in Tamale and paid money into SWAG accounts for the purpose.

Incidentally when Abedi rose to become a potential star with Real Tamale United, Mr Mainoo was GFA chairman and heavily canvassed for the young boy’s inclusion in the Black Stars. He faced a stiff opposition.

It became apparent that the Black Stars coaches, then Osam Duodu and Kwasi Afranie, were not too comfortable with Abedi’s style of play.

In fact, the coaches felt he was too much of a ball chaser. In local parlance “ball kraman”.

S.K. Mainoo’s affection for Abedi was so open most people felt he was grooming him for his pet Asante Kotoko where he was proud to be called Otumfuo’s permanent representative on the board of directors.

Here was a dedicated, genuine football Administrator and philanthropist who made his residence a second home for football matters that inevitably influenced the entire household, notably his better half the elegant Evelyn Eleanor Mainoo (Nee Wulf Vanderpuije ,85) who was given a queenly funeral befitting the better half of a principled, hardworking, amiable, successful businessman who had a real taste for the good things in life and enjoyed sports in general and football in particular. May Evelyn’s gentle soul rest in perfect peace as she joins the indefatigable Sylvester Kwaku Mainoo in the next world.

As promised, I continue with the profiles of some outstanding players of Kotoko (1982) and Hearts (1985) from my archives.

The players

Haruna Yusif

Haruna Yusif

Haruna the strong man is easily Ghana’s number one full back. He is strong tackling, serious and respectful. No wonder he is now the captain of the Black Stars Group.

Born in Kumasi in 1960, Haruna who hails from Salaga, is a tailor by profession. He started serious football in 1974 with Ashanti Stars and moved to Corners where he was a real tower of strength at the rear. He joined Kotoko in 1979 and

has been a regular player since then.

Married to Hajia Hadija a hairdresser, the couple has one kid Sanurate.

Music is Haruna’s hobby and his ambition is to be a good businessman.

Malik Jabir is his local idol. Falcao of

Brazil is his favourite abroad.

The Black Stars triumph in Libya where they won the Africa Cup is Haruna’s happiest moment.

Haruna was injured in an international match against the Ivory Coast in Abidjan three years

ago and that was the saddest moment in his football career.

Kwasi Appiah

Kwasi Appiah

An elegant attacking full back young Kwasi Appiah came to the limelight after only two appearances at Accra Stadium for Mines Stars.

He was quickly called into the national team but a knee injury has robbed him of a regular spot in the national squad.

Born at Bekwai on 9th August 1960 Appiah took to active football only two years after completing his

secondary school education at Opoku Ware school.

An accounts clerk by occupation Kwasi Appiah is one of the champion club’s newest recruits.

He played for Prestea Mines Stars for only one season and was in the Black Stars that

won the African Cup in Libya last March.

Kwasi Appiah is single and his parents are Mr J.E. Appiah, a businessman and Martha Serwaa, a trader.

Table tennis and athletics are his hobbies and his ambition is to become a good professional footballer. Kotoko’s midfield ace Albert Assase is Appiah’s favourite player and his idol abroad is Cameroons international goalkeeper Thomas Nkono.

The 6-0 drubbing Kotoko gave to Kampala City Council is Appiah’s happiest moment and the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Great Olympics the saddest.

Dan Kofi Nyanu

Dan Kofi Nyanu

Well-built central defender Kofi Nyanu is one player who has been able to put “the fear of God” into a lot of troublesome attackers.

Dan is not particularly quick on the turn but makes this up with his strong tackling and many forward players would like to think twice before attempting to get past him. Born in Accra on 17th May 1959 to Vincent Nyanu, a carpenter and Adaku Ayivor a petty trader, Dan hit the headlines with Olympics before joining the Phobians last season.

His favourite player is Sampson Lamptey. His idol abroad is Maurius Tresor and his pet team is Bayern Munich. His other favourite team is Sekondi Eleven Wise.

The other sportsman that Dan Nyanu most admires is Carl Lewis.

Rice is his favourite food and one person in the world he would like to meet is Pele.

Joseph Amoateng

Joe Amoateng

Lanky Joe Amoateng is deceptively fragile but he is really strong and swift on the ball. He plays both the midfield and left wing quite well but he feels more at home in the midfield. He has beautiful ball control and his occasional piercing shots have caught many a great goalkeeper napping.

Amoateng was born in Kumasi on 15th June 1959 to Mr Kofi Ababio, a lorry driver and Akua Donkor a trader.

He first tasted first division soccer with Dumas Boys of GTP but it is his association with Hearts since 1980 which has nurtured him into such brilliant star.

Wilberforce Mfum was his football hero of childhood days. Kwasi Bonsu of Sekondi Eleven Wise is his favourite player. Falcao his idol abroad. S V. Hamburg is his pet team abroad and Abuakwa Susu Biribi his other favourite team in Ghana.

Azumah Nelson is one other sportsman Amoateng admires most.

Shy looking Amoateng’s favourite food is rice.

He likes staying indoors after a tough match listening to music. One person he would like to meet is Pope John Paul.

Married to attractive Joyce, the couple is expecting the first kid soon.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.