Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako - The Writer

Sports administration in the country has gone from a Central Organisation of Sports (COS) through to National Sports Council (NSC). Now we have a more powerful name National Sports Authority (NSA.). On paper, it is common knowledge that the Ministry of Sports is the apex body in charge of the national budget for the running of sports nationwide.

It is noteworthy that in the First Republic there was no separate Ministry for sports. It was Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. Ohene Djan the Director of Sports had strong affinity with the Education Ministry. No wonder schools and colleges sports became such a huge national attraction that produced international stars for all the Olympic sports disciplines.

The National Liberation Council that replaced the Dr Nkrumah regime in 1966 literally followed the COS system so was Dr Busia’s Second Republic in 1969 that attached sports to the Ministry of Education. Football was, as usual, the dominant sport with the government showing keen interest in the undoubted national pastime.

The Black Stars squad for Afcon 1970 in Sudan had notable products from the Academicals upbringing including Malik Jabir, Oliver Acquah and Robert Foley.

It was Kutu Acheampong’s Supreme Military Council that in the early stages gave birth to the National Sports Council with immense powers to Lt Col Simpe Asante, a trained physical educationist to be Special Assistant to the head of state himself who was Commissioner for sports.

Simpe Asante was large and in charge. The regime realised the value of sports, especially football, as a tool to win the hearts of the masses no matter the economic situation. Through strenuous planning and heavy investment, the Black Stars had the distinguished honour of winning the original Afcon Cup for keeps in 1978.

Rapid political changes did not allow the Limann administration to have any long term plans for Ghana sports after Kutu’s exit.

It is however on record that the long reign of Jerry Rawlings and the hard working officials he put at the helm of Ghana sports notably Ato Austin, Amarkai Amarteifio, Kwame Saarah-Mensah and “Oga” E.T. Mensah, yielded good dividends.

I would say those good works were sustained by the Kufuor administration that saw Ghana at the FIFA World Cup for the first time.

It’s a pity the huge financial attraction in football is threatening to have a rather negative spill over in this dear nation of ours.

It appears everybody is somebody in our football administration these days. The danger however is when everybody is somebody, nobody is anybody.

As things stand now many sports lovers would like to know the role of the Ghana Sports Authority in the Nation’s sports administration.

We must all put our hands on the wheels. The various astro Turf pitches being constructed nationwide must be properly utilised. The renovated national stadiums must not go waste.

On this note, we continue with our profiles on Asante Kotoko 1982 Africa Cup squad and Hearts 1985 for Africa.

Asante Kotoko 1982 squad

Papa Arko

Papa Arko (Bob Marlley)

Popularly called Bob Marlley for his great love for reggae music. Papa Arko plays with amazing ease and confidence in the midfield. Most people regard him as a modern day Sunday Ibrahim. His ability to score from well outside the box has earned Kotoko and Ghana several sweet victories Born in Kumasi on June 2, 1960 Papa Arko took to active football in Secondary school and was soon a hero.

He joined Kotoko after completing his GCE O Level in 1978.

His target is to be voted the best footballers in Africa and he really has the potentials to earn this accolade.

Kofi Badu is his favourite player and West Germany’s Berd Schuster is his idol abroad.

Ghana’s victory over Kenya in an Olympic qualifying match in Accra is his most. memorable event and Kadiogo’s elimination of Kotoko in the Africa Cup in1979 is his saddest

His parents are Kofi Mensah and Afua Mansah both traders. Athletics is his hobby.

John Bannerman

John Bannerman

A graduate of the “Sekondi Gyandu Park Soccer Academy for Dribblers”, Bannerman is a real crowd pleaser. On a good day the adroit right winger can beat anybody in sight but robust defenders are the people he loathes.

Born on July 15 1961 Bannerman started playing colts at the age of 10 and registered for Sekondi Eleven Wise in 1977 after completing his elementary school education.

He became the club’s regular right winger and featured prominently in the Western Show Boys maiden continental assignment in 1980. He was called into the national team in 1981 and he joined the champion club this season. He was a member of the Black Stars squad that won the Africa Cup in Libya this year. Married to Angelina Abrokwa, a business woman. They have one kid, Robert.

Athletics is Bannerman’s hobby and he plans to be a big businessman in the future. Ahmed Polo is his local idol and Kevin Keegan of England is his idol abroad.

The day Eleven Wise beat Hasaacas in the 1980 League is his most memorable occasion and the

shocking defeat of Eleven Wise by Ebusua Dwarfs in 1979 is his saddest.

His parents are Robert Bannerman, an Accra motor mechanic and Mary Abrokwa a fish monger.

Hearts Africa Squad 1985

John Nketia Yawson

John Nketia Yawson

Strong running and experienced international right winger Yawson is one player who believes that no matches should be regarded as big or small.

Voted Footballer of the year in1979 Yawson was in the all-conquering Hearts squad in the late 70s and a useful member of the triumphant Black Stars in 1978.

Yawson turned professional in 1980 and played in Uruguay for nearly three years. Back home he featured briefly for Hasaacas before registering fir

Hearts this season.

Born on 4th March 1956 at New Takoradi to Mr. A K. Yawson a businessman and Susanna Tisquaye a fish monger, Yawson started big time football with Eleven Wise. His favourite player locally is Santrofie Acquah and Michel Platini of France is his idol abroad.

One sports person he most admires is sprinter Doris Frema Wiredu.

Yawson recalls the Hearts-Union Doula Africa Cup final in Yaounde 1979 as his most memorable match.

Married with one kid it was ex international Joe Ghartey who inspired Yawson to take to football

Clement Adu Bruku

Clement Adu Bruku

Clement a product of Auroras, then Hearts. Nursery team, is an intelligent forward who can play any position upfront. He has excellent ball control and can score with either foot. Of late however he is beginning to hang a little too long on the ball much to the displeasure of his fast growing admirers.

Clement was born in Accra on 30th September 1956 to Mr R.P. Bruku a businessman and Comfort Bruku, a petty trader. Like most good footballers Clement played colts in school and was a useful member of Auroras till he gained promotion to Hearts.

He played for only one season and left for Accra Great Olympics but that was also short lived and he returned to his natural habitat last season.

Kwasi Adzrah (Awui) is Clements favourite player. He admires Flamingo FC of Brazil and Sekondi Eleven Wise.

Muhammad Ali is one person in the world he most admires. His most memorable match was Hearts 2-0 triumph over Kotoko in the opening match of the current league and the draw with Zebi was the most disappointing Clement took inspiration from Pele of Brazil to play football and he is the one person in the world he would like to meet.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.