By Ken Bediako
I won’t hide the fact that I am a strong advocate for the concept that honours the nation’s sporting legends. I mean both the administrators and the practitioners.
And this is the reason why I faithfully served on the committee set up in 2004 by then Sports Minister Kwadwo Baah Wiredu to identify such outstanding Ghanaian personalities for honours. I won’t feel shy to say that the committee, headed by Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, the renowned veteran sports administrator, did a good work in 10 months that was fully acknowledged by the Sports Minister.
The first batch of the nation’s legendary sporting personalities was inaugurated at a colourful ceremony at the plush Alisa Hotel in Accra on November 26 2004.
Kwadwo Baah Wiredu made it clear at the ceremony it was the first of an Annual National Sports Awards scheme “which should happily complement meaningfully the ongoing SWAG programme which has been the lifeline support to lift the spirit of our outstanding sports personalities.”
The idea was to make the programme an annual affair since the selection of outstanding personalities would be an ongoing exercise.
Unfortunately, nothing has been heard again after this lofty exercise 19 years ago.
This is not good enough. The Baba Yara Stadium, Robert Mensah Stadium, Azumah Nelson Sports Complex, Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Pitch, Hathiramani Sports Hall all resulted from the work of the committee set up by Baah Wiredu.
Unfortunately, when the exercise began the two modern Stadia in Tamale and Cape Coast had not been constructed.
Fittingly the Tamale Stadium has been named after former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama and I think Cape Coast Stadium also deserves some identity.
You may argue Alhaji Aliu Mahama was honoured for being a top politician but I strongly believe his
sporting credentials far outweigh any political considerations. He was an integral part of the powerful executive that made the renascent Real Tamale United (RTU) such a strong force at birth in the late 70s. The club made an impressive debut in the 1978 league by beating most of the old established clubs. Apart from the discovery of the great Abedi Pele, those were the days of emerging stars like Mahama Nlai, Mohammed Choo, Haruna Seaman, Farrouk and others. RTU were riding majestically to a historic national league debut triumph when they were halted in their tracks by Simms Mensah’s well drilled Asante Kotoko. I tell you Ghana football has seen some really exciting days in the past. And this reminds me that this year, 2023, marks exactly 60 years when the Black Stars won the Afcon Cup for the first time. It was a historic victory, led by lanky handsome Cape Coast born Aggrey Fynn the fine ball artist and utility player.
At this juncture I would like to suggest the new international size Cape Coast Stadium be named after Edward Jonah Aggrey Fynn (Nanabanyin). He deserves it.
I am sure ace goalie Robert Mensah who has been named after the old Stadium at nearby Siwdu, will embrace the company of “master body
swerver,” Aggrey Fynn at their native Oguaa Aggrey Fynn was one of the original members of the National football team that was officially named Black Stars at a ceremony in October 1960 at Nsawam, birth place of sports administration supremo Ohene Djan who coined the appellation, BLACK STARS, for the senior national football team.
For the records the rest of the pioneers were C.K Gyamfi, Baba Yara, Addo Odametey, Owens Oblitey, Wilberforce Mfum, Ofei Dodoo, Mohammed Salisu, Dogo Moro, Kwame Appiah, Ben Acheampong, Kwao Baffoe, Asebi Boakye, Kwame Adarkwa, Addoquaye Laryea, A.R. Kassum, Robert Bunyan and Obadzen.
I appeal to the Ministry of Sports to quickly resurrect this Hall of Fame programme for the good of Ghana sports and the almighty GFA should also consider celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Black Stars ascendancy to the pinnacle of African football. Any type of a simple ceremony will do but it must surely be celebrated for the sake of posterity. Incidentally, it will also mark Ghana’s tenth back to back Afcon appearance.
Going down memory lane let me provide readers will the full list of the four squads that did Ghana football proud in Africa on four occasions 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982.
The full 1963 squad was Aggrey Fynn (capt), Dodoo Ankrah, Franklin Crentsil, Owens Oblitey, Addo Odametey, Ben Acheampong, Kwame Adarkwa, Ofei Dodoo, W.K Mfum, Edward Acquah, Mohammed Salisu, Kofi Pare, Atta Kwame, E. E de Graft, Agyeman Gyau, Joe Aikins, Osei Kofi, Leonard Acquah.
Addo Odametey (Capt), Dodoo Ankrah, Ben Acheampong, Kofi Pare, Osei Kofi, Agyeman Gyau, Frank Odoi, Sam Acquah, Ganiyu Salami, Willie Evans, Ben Kusi, Kwame Nti, John Naawu, Paa Nii Luterrodt, Jones Attuquayefio, Richard Barnier, Oman Mensah, Joe Addison, Amusa Gbadamosi.
Awuley Quaye (capt), Opoku Afriyie, Joe Carr, Fuseini Salifu, Isaac Acquaye, Kuuku Dadzie, Haruna Yusif, PSK Paha, Charles Oppong, Justice Moore, Ofei Ansah, Adolf Armah, John Nketia Yawson, Dan Kayede Mohammed Polo, Addai Kyenkyenhene, Willie Klutse, Anas Seidu, Kuntu Blankson, Abdul Razak, Emmanuel, Quarshie, George Alhassan.
Emmanuel Quarshie (Capt), Haruna Yusif, Sampson Lamptey, Owusu Mensah, John Baker, Joe Carr, Kwame Sampson, Isaac Paha, Albert Asase, John Essien, Kofi Badu, George Alhassan, Opoku Nti, Seth Ampadu, Kofi Abbrey, Abedi Ayew Pele, Opoku Afriyie, Hesse Odamtten, Kwasi Appiah, Acquaye McLean, Ben Kayede, John Bannerman.
Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.