FEATURE: Anas Exposé and matters arising, My view – Abdul Latif Sadick

feature-anas-expose-and-matters-arising-my-view-abdul-latif-sadickThe past few weeks have seen moments of excessive discussions and deliberation of ideas amongst Ghanaian hoi polloi concerning the famous Ace Undercover Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ exposé dubbed: #Number12; When Greed and Misconduct become the norm, which revealed the rots in our football.

I have read and listened to lots of divergent views and variety of analyses on the exposé from known and unknown figures, especially from the sports fraternity with some giving insightful and thought provoking interpretations on the exposé.

As a vociferous and outspoken budding young writer, I took my followers by surprise without saying or writing anything concerning the exposé even when characters in the documentary were resigning from key positions and subsequently the disbandment of the Football Association by the Government of Ghana.

One would have wished to add his views and thoughts to the all-discussing issue but with such delicate and highly expertise exposé, one would just but wait for the appropriate time to come out with what he has on the matter.

Just as I waited for the first premiere of the exposé in Kumasi, BBC had given others the opportunity of viewing other parts of the documentary on YouTube which I also chanced to have a view of the 51:09 minutes premiered show on Thursday, 7th June, 2018 which was different from what was given to Ghanaians in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi.

The excerpts of what the BBC aired was the one that left me with sorrow and in a state of melancholy as I got to know- in fact the world got to know- that, a game that I traveled to watch and reported on for my media house which I nearly lost my life on my way to the game from an escaped accident, was a fixed game.

As I have commuted almost every length and breadth of the country where football games are played to cover football games, I could not have helped but weep when it was aired that Aduana Stars and ES Setif CAF Champions League game was fixed to give the home side the victory at the Osagyefo Agyemang Badu II Park at Dormaa.

I got to Dormaa with only 15 minutes to kickoff without accreditation because I came for the game late. As I did everything possible to watch every kick of the game, I got seated at the press box just as when the game started.

In what was assumed to be a “manufactured” penalty as claimed by the Algerian side, 39-year-old referee, Denis Dembele from Ivory Coast awarded Aduana Stars a penalty on the 76th minute in the game to give the home side a 1-0 victory.

BBC AFRICA NEWS recounted vividly from the premiere how Tiger Eye PI induced the officials of the game to ensure Aduana Stars win the game in an obscure way.

After having the opportunity to watch the first premiere of the exposé in Kumasi at the CCB Auditorium, KNUST coupled with the one BBC aired earlier, it has left me pondering on so many issues from the “#Number 12” documentary as I am much au fait and well versed now to tackle this matter head on without any fraction of sidedness.

  1. Local football places no value to life

One life general phenomenon is that, one will need absolute life to pursuit a wishful heart desire and obviously, one cannot push forth for what one wish to achieve without a healthy life.

In apropos to above reality, football is a game that commands every sphere of human life and should be regarded and valued with all seriousness and importance.

As football means everything to the life of a person, actors of the game need to realize how and the extent it will affect an individual when a game is compromised, knowingly or unknowingly by a supporter.

A lot of lives have been lost because of the recklessness and negligence of some actors of the game- referees, supporters, players, administrators etc and the documentary by Anas Aremeyaw Anas cements that fact.

As almost eighty-percent of the local games are fixed and played before the actual game on the pitch, supporter who travel from near and far distances to watch these games end up losing their lives in whatever manner, just like I nearly lost my life in an accident on my way to Dormaa to watch the fixed game between Aduana Stars and ES Setif in the CAF Champions League.

The goodies and luxuries that actors of the game will get before and after matches have turned out to be more valuable and important than the life of a football fans.

It is not surprising that hooliganism has taken over our game, locally and on the continent, because referees, football administrators and a small section of supporters seek to satisfy their parochial interest than what will happen after a football should officiating goes abysmal which, obviously, brings about lost of lives during and after games.

If a referee can be tempted with an exiguous GHS 300.00 and a goat just to twist the results of a football match at the peril of football fans, then it is conclusive to say football has gained more value than perishable and precious life of football fans.

  1. The Loses and Gains after the exposé

The Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposé revealed so many dreadful dealings in our local game from the top hierarchy to the least ranked person, who are supposed to see to the progress of football in the country.

In as much as the documentary exposed so much rot in the game, it leaves the common Ghanaian the opportunity to call for, whatsoever, a revolution in the game away from the current actors of football management in the country, who under them, the game has seen palpable rot.

That means to say, the revelations from the documentary have its own repercussions in football, going forward, in terms of the loses and gains it comes along with.

Loses

The loses from all these is that, it goes in monstrous to regain the trust of football followers and possibly, investors in giving back the support the game needs, especially in the local game.

As I watched the video at the CCB Auditorium at KNUST, the seamless enxiety that criss-crossed the faces of the over thousand audience, speaks volume on the extent the exposé will have on the game in terms of viewership should everything get back in-situ.

The boos and hand throwing from near and afar in the auditorium gave enormous credence to the fact that football under this yet-to-be-dissolved FA was thrown to the dogs against the desire of the dire-lovers of the game and were the reasons those did not throng the various stadia during football games.

Even with the tireless efforts of all and sundry, led by the government of Ghana, to restructure the game after the exposé, it will be extremely cumbersome for Ghanaians to trust the football system again, unless there are elected competencies to lead our game once more.

How then do we determine the competencies supposed if we get them? That could be determined after decades of work by new administrators in office in trying to exhaust this hoodoo bedevilling our football without any doubtful smell of corruption in our game. It will take years before new administrators will get the trust of Ghanaians again concerning football.

The reaping effect of this phenomenon does not only resides on the shoulders of Kwesi Nyantakyi losing almost everything he took his entire life to get, but also on football clubs who are suffocating financially especially during these times without football- incurring extra debt and paying for works not done for the clubs by employees, high probability of losing sponsorship deals since there is no football to sell out their products.

The loses will go extreme to affect the economic level of individuals who depend on football for livelihood, particularly football journalist and hawkers who sell during football games.

In all these, the loses should turn out to be a blessing for Ghana football in the foreseeable future which without this documentary, there wouldn’t be any sort of proper planning for our game.

Gains

The standard of football in the country was on the descendency over the past ten years especially in the local scene where clubs struggled to make any positive impact in African Club Competitions and left the local league bereft of any shinny spot to talk on when discussing the local game.

Before Kwesi Nyantakyi and his cohorts took over the management of football in the country in 2005, the CAF Confederations Cup saw Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak playing in the maiden final of the competition with Hearts of Oak winning the trophy in Kumasi.

Ghana thereon kept on pushing down the pecking order in clubs and league rankings on the continent which saw us losing our four spots in club competitions to two. That meant everything was tilting backward in club football.

Clubs that were able to participate in Africa Club Competitions just go and add to the numbers without making it pass the first round. Few clubs like Chelsea and Medeama, have over the years reached the “Money Zone” of the Champions League and Confederations Cup respectively but were unable to go pass the “Money Zone”. Giants like Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak performance in Africa have been zilch.

The national teams that the Kwesi Nyantakyi’s tutelage took pride of also moved from glory at the international stage to grass after routine failure to qualify to most World Cup games. To make it sordid, Kwesi Nyantakyi never saw the U-23 making it to the Olympics Games in his three year reign as the FA President. Our birth rights like the U-17 and U-20 at the international stage became a nagging problem for us in getting a berth during qualifiers.

Football, without a figment of doubt, needed a change of hands and ideas in the country to breath fresh air and a more healthy and paradigm shift in football administration which Kwesi Nyantakyi’s administration constantly and vehemently denied.

It would take an extraordinary happenings and findings for the Kwesi Nyantakyi’s GFA to realize they needed to move on to give Ghana Football another direction and the Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposé came in a nick of time after incessant calls from every nook and cranny of the country for Kwesi Nyantakyi to step down but remained adamant and turned death ears to them.

After changes are made to football by the Government of Ghana, stemming from grassroots football which died an artificial death under Kwesi Nyantakyi, to the top echelons of football which has started with steps taking by the government to dissolve the GFA, will give the game a more healthy grounds to brood on cutting across football administration.

With this, Ghana can take her rightful place in world football again as precedence from other countries shows a change in administration and more prudent steps to revolutionalize football have brought massive progress in the game like Nigeria and Cameroon who are currently the African Champions.

  1. Way forward of Ghana football

Now that Ghana Football have been left to the heep of its crust, surely there should be a proper path to the next, but prudent and sufficient move, to achieve and win back the soiled image of football in the country.

As we forge to surge ahead for the next line of action in our football, there is the need for adroit and cogent means to properly adumbrate a strict path to our football that should be in sharp contrast to what we have presently which led us to massive corruption and weak, spineless and gutless system.

Deducing from the Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposé, it clearly and truly depicts a weak system in our football which some needed “hardcore” evidence to prove the rots identified which were explicitly revealed in the documentary.

The ambience surrounding the game now, which is in a bizarre state, cannot be denied of it being besmirched entirely from the revelations in the Anas exposé which is calling for football to be started from scratch to give a fruitful rise to the game again.

As captured in the documentary, both the one aired by BBC and the one watched a crossed the country, the figures in the game including referees and administrators who supposed to have given the game some credibility, were ignominiously dragging the beautiful game in the mud but it also revealed some administrators who are incorruptible.

From there, it is relevant and wise to conclude that there are genuine administrators in the system but few referees should be left to officiate games going forward. This comes when proper actions are taken to give football a meaningful rise again after going through all means to restore its lost glory.

That is to say, first by electing a leader who will not manipulate and skew unblemished powers to his own bosoms to the detriment of clubs (and club owners) as we saw of Kwesi Nyantakyi by specifically apportioning term of office to the next leader of GFA, enacting of an entire new set of regulations to govern the game giving it strict adherence to check and balance of various functions, developing the game from the lowest level to the top echelons of football in the country by ensuring and attaching equal importance to all level of football.

The government of Ghana have taken giant steps to reshape and restructure the fortunes of Ghana football in the aftermath of the Anas Aremeyaw Anas documentary and it is wholly welcomed by majority of the Ghanaian populace.

As it was expected, club owners are seeking for other ways from the government to amicably sort out current football matters in the country by devoting everything in their hand against the wish of majority of Ghanaians who love the game. But in the rhymes of the officialdom, this is a positive stride to attaining another great impact in the resolution and revolution of football.

Ghanaians are bent on seeing a massive revolution of the game that will inure to the benefit of investors, footballers and club owners as it is seen in other countries, notably the developing ones in football.

The next step in our football, after the dust has settled, should not rise eye brow in some few years to come but should repose enough trust to the common Ghanaian just like the game gave in recent years.

But in cases where journalists and Ghanaian in general will start to lampoon and excoriate the next football system and administration within a spate of few years for shambolic and somnolent administration, will mean to negate all the efforts done to rise the bar in football again after the Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposé.

Our next football should be done in a way that will make it extremely difficult for anyone to find faults in the system unlike Kwesi Nyantakyi’s whose regime saw a lot of negatives than positives.

With this revelations from the Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposé, Ghanaians, with affliction left bruised, remain agog to see the end of this mystery sandwiched around Nyantakyi’s tutelage of proper football structures and systems by rewriting of fresh football notes in Ghana again.

By: Lateef Abdul Sadick @LateefSportsMid on twitter.2018-06-24 06:09:50Archives

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Frank Darkwah

Ghanaian Sports Journalist who specializes in Sports Photography and Sports writing. Accredited CAF and FIFA photo journalist

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