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Integrity; the precious mineral

By Stephen Bittor

The adages “a good name is better than riches” and “birds of the same flock together” are very crucial in life. These are values and principles that best define one personality and uniqueness. The above proverbs influence our choices in life consciously or unconsciously. This write-up seeks to share my opinion on the current state of our Ghanaian sports, specifically football, as well as some individuals whose objectivity and credibility have been in question for the past few weeks.

It is a known fact that Ghanaian football is in tatters with the results very bold for objective citizens to see. The last time we progressed to the round of 16 stage in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) was in 2019, the rest were just nothing to write home about. The one time Brazilians of Africa had been in starvation for the AFCON trophy for the past four decades. As for the World Cup tournaments, one can tell for himself that we qualify to add up to the numbers.

In these circumstances, there have been several factors that industry players and other well-meaning Ghanaians attribute to our failure, including political power and will, dominating over national commitment. According to them, high-profile personalities such as the Ghana Football Association (GFA) boss, and the minister for Youth and Sports, among others, prioritize their selfish interest over national interest. This is reflected in the choice of players who make it up to the national team’s call-up as well as the extravagant expenditure in every tournament. The connection power (who knows you) has become the order of the day.

It’s undoubtedly clear to every discerning and football-loving Ghanaian that the players that make it up to the Black Stars’s list, have a significant number of them coming from the diaspora of Ghanaian descent, to the neglect of the indigenous ones. The choice of making these selections is not faulty because of their Ghanaian relations, however, some of these players do not live up to expectations.

The recent “SAVE GHANA FOOTBALL” demonstration is a testament to this effect. The exercise which had thousands of Ghanaians in attendance, is an affirmation of the displeasure of Ghanaians toward authorities as far as football is concerned. What is surprising, is to see some former players fail in attendance and to describe the protest as an unnecessary one. Notable among them was John Paintsil, a former Black Stars defender, who emphasized that our football is without problem but attributed the current challenges to club owners other than the GFA and the sports ministry. His comment sparked furious reactions among Ghanaians with some questioning his sense of judgement. It’s sometimes hard to believe the unbelievable.

Another key issue has to do with the appointment of former Ghanaian international footballer, Asamoah Gyan as a sub-committee member on Youth and Sports for the 2024 manifesto for the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Just after his appointment, several Ghanaians have expressed their dissatisfaction with his decision to go into active politics. It is without doubt that, almost every Ghanaian have an affiliation with one or two political parties, however, certain individuals like celebrities ought not to reveal their identity, for the sake of maintaining their credibility. This is because one is easily identified by the group he belongs to, and in essence shares in the successes and failures of the group.

While others may hold the view that, he has the experience and the expertise to contribute to revitalizing sports in the country, I would not completely share in the same thought with them. The reason is that, he does not need to be a member of the committee to make significant contributions to football, he can equally do that without aligning himself publicly with any political party. One cannot tell me that, the various individuals assigned to the committees cannot seek help from objective and experienced minds outside the party to get their work done prudently. A classical example is the press release from the camp of the Ghanaian musician, Okyeame Kwame who has disassociated himself from the speculations of forming part of Dr Bawumia’s manifesto committee members and has made it clear not to engage in partisan politics for the sake of his followers. He also emphasized his readiness to support any political party who may deem it fit to tap into his industry knowledge, rather not on partisan line.

Given this, some of the questions that come to mind for Asamoah Gyan to answer have to do with, 1) why didn’t he attend the demonstration and 2) why didn’t he comment on the exercise? Should one presume that his political affiliation was what hindered him from partaking in a fair-minded exercise? If yes, then we don’t have a future as far as our football is concerned. We must learn to know the groups we associate ourselves with as far as objectivity and credibility are concerned.

Integrity is an asset that one earns from society and must not be compromised at all. My advice to all celebrities including footballers is that they should be careful of how they make public pronouncements about the groups they belong to because it can destroy their brands and the consequences would be irreparable.

Source: Adoanews.com

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