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Soweto after the team’s loss in the World Cup quarter-finals; former


Football Association Kwesi Nyantakyi


President of the Ghanaian


Clockwise from far left: Striker Asamoah Gyan greets supporters in


national coach Milovan Rajevac in action;


Looking to the future With nearly 30 years going by without winning a Nations Cup title, the 2012 tournament, jointly hosted by Gabon & Equatorial Guinea, is expected to be the tournament that will finally end the Black Stars continental drought.After reach- ing the finals of the 2010 tournament, their first since Senegal ’92, the pressure to conquer the steep African summit will be immense. “For our people, it is either the trophy


stolen or misappropriated by its top officials, Nyantakyi is challenging the “high-handed” actions of the EOCO in court. “We are law-abiding people and there


was no legal basis for that raid,” he insists. “It was an exercise in high-handedness


and it’s regrettable that it happened. We are very aggrieved and have decided to seek redress in court. I hope that sooner than later the court will determine who is right and who is wrong. “Since 7 December, when they took


all our computers away, let them say what they have been able to find and what of- fences we committed? I am surprised that it is taking such a long time to come out with their findings. “If we have committed any wrongdo-


ing, let them tell us, so that we can defend ourselves.” Describing the waters of Ghanaian


football as being “full of sharks and tsu- namis”, Nyantakyi insists he is unpaid for his work. “People don’t know it but I do not get


a salary as GFA president. All I get is a stipend of 500 Cedis ($320) per month! “You do not believe me?” a smiling


been far from smooth sailing for the GFA’s mandarins in recent times. Officials of the country’s Economic


and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) made an unexpected dawn raid on the GFA’s headquarters on 7 December last year, closing the offices for three hours, detaining officials within the building and subsequently carting away the GFA’s computers for forensic examination. Denying claims that sponsorship mon-


ies, as well as the public funds given to the GFA by the government, had been


Nyantakyi asks, observing my disbeliev- ing countenance. “You can go to the ac- counts department and ask them. I am in this position in order to contribute to the growth of Ghanaian football. I work for a bank; I have a law firm in Accra (Annan & Nyantakyi) and also engage in other things to earn a living. “When people see me, they think I am


swimming in money. Te only things I get besides my stipend are the per diems I get when I am on international assignment for the association. Tat is what people see, think I am feeding fat on the GFA’s money and subsequently go green with envy,” he laughs.


or nothing, and at the next World Cup, it is the semi-finals or nothing… People are becoming used to success in Ghana and it is a big burden to meet high expectations. But I am happy to face the challenge,” says Nyantakyi. With a view to nurturing the next generation of Ghanaian footballers, the “Ghanaman School of Excellence” has been built in Prampram – a 45- minute drive away from Accra – with significant help from FIFA’s goal project programme. Te impressive centre has two hostels, kitchen and dining facilities, two training pitches and classrooms for technical sessions and seminars. “We need to nurture our young players


in the right environment, which is why it was important to build the school. It will play an important part in our future,” Nyantakyi says. “My biggest challenge at the mo-


ment is to raise funds for our future plans. Ghana’s economy is not as large as Nigeria’s or South Africa’s, so it is hard to get big-spending sponsors. “But we are determined to do more, because we need to develop women’s football, youth football, our leagues, as well as motivate our office staff.” Te odds-on favourite to win another


four-year term as GFA boss, in elections due later this year, a 10-year stretch in office will make Nyantakyi the longest serving boss in Ghanaian football history. He hopes the legacy he will bequeath to the country’s football is leaving it in rude health. “I want to leave a robust associa- tion, with enough sponsorship, with a solid foundation in youth football, to sustain good performances at the top level. I also want to see our coaches trained to take on the challenges of our national teams and see our referees flourishing interna- tionally.” From the look of things, Nyantakyi – and Ghana – seem well on their way.


New African March 2011 | 89


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