Kofi Adoli writes: Football and politics, how mistaken are we

blackstars

I do not think that the NDC/NPP signals emanating from this Black Stars AFCON portends well for Ghana. Politically I am biased and you might have known this. But there are two institutions that I would spend everything in me to keep away from political bias: sports and armed forces.

Unfortunately these two have become objects of careless politicking. The Black Stars are one great source of pride for us all. Yet the 2016 election campaign managed to rope the Captain, Asamoah Gyan, into partisan politics. Reports and images of him touring his mansion overseeing the Weija Dam with the then opposition leader Akufo-Addo in the heat of political campaign began a downward slope for our national football team. Agyeman Badu, a stalwart of the National team whose passion for Ghana I have come to admire descended further when he proclaimed that the team was going to win the AFCON for Akufo-Addo. How would other team members have felt if they did not support Nana Addo? Is the Black Stars for Ghana or for Nana Addo?

Well, now the team could not make it to the final game. They will not win the cup. Predictably Ghanaians politically supportive of Akufo-Addo are taking last night’s embarrasing defeat with silence whiles those opposed to him are taking pot shots at the Stars taunting them to ‘bring the cup to Nana’.

In 1992 the opposition at the time was vociferous, even violent at times. Current President Akufo-Addo was a captain of demonstrations and public agitation then. And the country had a very heated elections campaign season. Yet the team Captained by legendary Abedi Pele and deputised by Kwesi Appiah with other national heros namely Emmanuel Armah, Tony Yeboah, Isaac Asare, and many more gave the whole of Ghana a sense of unity like never before. Cameroun and Nigeria championed by Makanaki and Yekini were terrifying. But Ghana surmounted them all until Ivory Coast broke our heart. Nevertheless we supported the Stars as one nation and celebrated them on the streets of Accra when they returned from Senegal. Even the way the Coach, Otto Pfister, dressed became a way of dressing in Ghana to this day!

Today Ghana is divided along political party lines behind the Black Stars. Meanwhile a corrupt management team led by Kwesi Nyantakyi seem unmovable. And it is because the country cannot keep politics at bay and insist on sporting excellence.

This brings to mind the issue of our poor performance in Brazil. Many Ghanaians, led by a politicised media, who have not read a single dot on the Brazil World Cup Commission’s Report or even the Government White Paper, make pronouncements singling out Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah as if the the latter was the cause of that fiasco. Today with the absence of Mr Afriyie-Ankrah the Black Stars remain second rate bedevilled with the visionlessness Kwesi Nyantakyi has exercised to perfection over the years with his clique of kleptocrats. With partisan politics now sown into the national team the predicament of Ghana is set to snowball as it rolls downhill into oblivion on the world stage.

Our Armed Forces
Early last year the Ghana Armed Forces was faced with the most unpatriotic and debilitatingly vicious propaganda in its history apart from the anti-Rhodesia sentiments which made them support the overthrow of the Kwame Nkrumah government in 1966.

Sometime ago, Senior Officers started a ‘Savings-and-loans scheme’ the set up of which drew anger from lower officers and Junior NCOs. Little was done to educate, discipline and whip the forces into line: weak moral courage. It festered to this day.

Again, the indiscipline at the Army Training Camp amongst recruits in Shai Hills in December 2015 was not isolated. Worse, Dominic Nitiwul fed into the ranks false claims about United Nations peace keeping pay rates which led to agitations for increment and general indiscipline. He also promised an a 30-year service length which would resonate with those serving but would mean intake must slow as a result.

When one of the soldiers took a picture of himself drinking Kalypo in support of the then opposition leader Akufo-Addo, many mistook it to be an individual deviance. It was not! Surprisingly former President Rawlings who staged a coup d’etat because of growing indiscipline in the armed forces occasioned by social decadence never said a word.

The Ghana Armed Forces is a shadow of the lean, mean and ruthless set of comrades we used to be proud of a decade or two ago. We may not realise this until they are faced with a national test.

The sun rises and surely goes down each day. The same way we take it for granted as though the unity, peace, security and stability of Ghana will remain as we see the sun rise and go down the same way night follows day, without plucking out the damaging politicisation of football and our Armed Forces.

How mistaken are we?

 

Credit: Kofi Adoli