Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako-The Writer

By Ken Bediako

The above headline caught my attention in a humour magazine and it tickled me so much. There lived a boastful young man who kept repeating the same mistakes time and again but he kept on arguing fiercely that was doing the right thing.

Which quickly reminds me of the self-styled exclusive football people who are messing up affairs of the passion of the nation but still thinking they are on the right path.

For the past five years or so the GFA has failed to give the nation a solid senior national team famously called the Black Stars. Coaches are changed with amazing rapidity but we still can’t parade a shining and winnable side.

There are all kinds of theories for this decline of the Black Stars. Your guess can be good as mine but I strongly feel greed and mistrust could be the major contributing factors to the lack of team spirit in the Black Star Group. As for Houghton he was a victim of circumstances well beyond his capacity. Insiders will tell you he was bound to fail. The draft for his dismissal had already been prepared and we only needed the haphazard show by the Black Stars against Mozambique to complete the script. Do you see the speed with which the GFA announced his dismissal? They did not even need any technical report of the Afcon performance as it’s the usual practice.

The saying is really true that “when your mind is made up you don’t want to be confused with facts.”

The problem is the GFA is so obsessed with its so -called autonomy granted by FIFA and the highly debatable meaning of the term “government interference,” so much so that they seem to be monarchs of all they survey.

Otherwise how come the GFA can boldly turn a government bungalow specially allocated for a Black Stars coach into an office and nobody cares a hoot about this? We have a whole Ministry in charge of sports and a National Sports Authority to boot. Unbelievable, as a colleague recently remarked, “In a situation where everybody is somebody, nobody is anybody.”

Honestly, the nation should not sit down unconcerned and continue to brood about a valuable asset like the Black Stars that unites us all going down the drain. The Black Star Group is indeed a national asset that must be taken good care of. It is nobody’s private property so all hands must be on deck to bring back the smiles to the teeming football populace.

The year 2024 is a momentous one for sports globally. Ghana for the first time, is hosting the whole of Africa in the continental Games in March. Can you imagine such a great morale booster if the Black Stars had won Afcon honours to inspire our sports contingent to aspire higher at the upcoming African Games?

Nevertheless, Dr Kwaku Ofosu Asare and his organising team are finishing hard to make the African Games a huge success at least as far as hosting is concerned.

It is hoped all the sports disciplines would put up good performances to make the festival a joyous occasion.

Going through my archives I realised the 1973 African Games in Lagos provided an exciting performance by our track and field sportsmen and sportswomen. Our footballers surprisingly did not win any medal.

Let me recall the football events so the current representatives will sit up.

The Black Stars failed to win a medal when they were beaten 2-0 by Egypt in the match for third place. Earlier in the opening game Ghana were beaten 4-2 by Nigeria. Ace striker Mohammed scored twice in the 12th and 25th minutes to give Nigeria a comfortable lead Kwasi Owusu however pulled one back for Ghana a minute to the recess after his 35th minute goal had been disallowed.

Joe Sam got the equaliser for Ghana a minute after resumption. The game was heading for a pulsating 2-2 affair when poor goalkeeping by Kingston resulted in two rapid goals against the Black Stars.

GHANA: Kingston, Dan Oppong, Ayi Acquah, Alex Mingle, John Eshun(capt) Eric Amankwa, Yaw Sam, Joe Sam, Kwasi Owusu, Sunday Ibrahim, Isaac Eshun, Robert Kwofie.

In the second match Ghana beat Tanzania 1-0 thanks to a 53rd minute goal by Kwasi Owusu who connected a rebound from Abdul Razak’s shot which the goalie failed to save.

GHANA: Lante France, Dan Oppong, Akuetteh Armah Alex Mingle, John Eshun (capt), Joe Ghartey/Sam Amarteifio, Robert Kwofie, Yaw Sam, Kwasi Owusu, Joe Sam, Abdul Razak.

In the third match Ghana beat Algeria 2-0 to reach the semi-finals. Isaac Eshun scored from the spot in the 37th minute and Yaw Sam netted the second with a classic shot in the 81st minute.

GHANA: Lante France, Dan Oppong, Ayi Acquah, Tetteh Gorkeku/Joe Ghartey, John Eshun (capt), Sam Amarteifio, Yaw Sam, Kwasi Owusu, Sunday Ibrahim, Isaac Eshun, Abdul Razak.

Ghana was beaten 2-1 by Guinea in the semi-finals. Kwasi Owusu gave Ghana the lead in the 13th minute but dribbler Sogibe scored twice in the 25th and the 32nd minutes to carry the day for Guinea.

GHANA– Lante France, Dan Oppong Ayi Acquah, Tetteh Gorleku John Eshun (capt), Sam Amarteifio, Yaw Sam, Eric Amankwa/Ibrahim Sunday, Kwasi Owusu/Joe Sam, Joe Ghartey, Isaac Eshun.

The bronze medal eluded Ghana when the Black Stars lost 2-1 to Egypt in the match for third place.

Left winger Aziz scored in the 25th and 53rd minutes for Egypt before Yaw Sam pulled one back for Ghana in the 73rd minute.

GHANA– Kingston, Akuetteh Armah, Ayi Acquah, Alex Mingle, John Eshun, Sam Amarteifio, Yaw Sam, Eric Amankwa/Robert Kwofie, Kwasi Owusu, Joe Sam, Abdul Razak/Isaac Eshun.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.