With Money, Food, Sex, Street Fight, and Faces Probity & Accountability
To many people, President John Dramani Mahama, has only sacked the Minister for Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and his Deputy Joseph Yammin by re-assigning them to other portfolios, following their shambolic organization and general ineptitude leading to the elimination of the Black Stars from the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
But, what is unknown to them is that the outgoing Minister for Youth and Sports, one of the many young men in the Mahama administration nursing higher political ambitions, has just had his presidential dream crushed with allegations of money, food, sex, nepotism and hooliganism during Ghana’s participation in Brazil.
Although, reports that apart from his brother, Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah, his 11-year old son, wife and her relatives, were on the trip with some ending up as caterers for the entourage are yet to be confirmed, the fact remains that the Minister had engaged Dynamic Airlines, which has no license to do domestic flight in Brazil.
It is not a hidden secret in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) that Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah, wants to run as flagbearer for the 2020 Presidential Elections, when President Mahama would have ended his term, but that dream appears for now to have been shattered , following the controversy-ridden 2014 World Cup.
It started with the budget he presented to the government to enable the players go to Brazil. While insiders quoted that he and the Ghana Football Association (GFA), have submitted over US$20 million to the Flagstaff House, Mr. Afriyie- Ankrah, was unable to say specifically how much he demanded from government, leading eventually to the payment of US$9.5 million to the team.
As if that whopping amount was not enough, monies were solicited from corporate bodies to fly fans to Brazil with the most outrageous being that, some movie actors and musicians, including Nana Ama McBrown, John Dumelo, Jackie Appiah, Becca and others, were going to get a US$20,000 each to be in Brazil as Special Ambassadors.
The film stars and musicians, were later seen stranded at various Brazilian airports, defeating Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah’s claims and purposes of sending them and other hundreds of fans to cheer the senior national team. There are claims of some of them having sex with the players.
Hotels and dormitories for the fans, also became a problem with pictures flooding on various social media websites on the precarious conditions that the supporters were put through, although Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, had loudly claimed that he had arranged one of the best sleeping places, food and other things for the fans.
He later, had to apologise to Ghanaian football fans in Natal, for the incident that saw them stranded at the Natal and Fortaleza Airport, hence were unable to watch the Ghana-Germany game, after Dynamic Airlines informed officials of a fault on the second aircraft that was to convey fans to Fortaleza.
Airport Authorities in Fortaleza, had also grounded the aircraft for lacking the permission to embark on domestic operations in Brazil. This left fans tripped to Fortaleza waiting for close to ten hours after the match they could not watch.
The disappointed fans some of whom Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah was reported by The Ghanaian Times newspaper to have fought, were sent to the Ghana Village in Natal to watch the match on screen.
He was later quoted by the GNA as apologising to the stranded fan saying “It was not part of our plans to leave you stranded at the airport and deny you the opportunity to watch the match against Germany. We sincerely regret what you all went through at the Natal and Fortaleza Airport. I want to assure you that, it will never happen again.”
Before the apologies could sink in, came the demand that Black Star players had said they were not going to play the Ghana-Portugal match until their “appearance fees” was paid.
President Mahama intervened by sending additional US$3 million to Brazil with the Presidential Jet, under strict security protection to pay the players.
Football governing body, FIFA later revealed that it was ready to pay Ghana’s players their World Cup bonuses directly and deduct it from the GFA’s prize money.
GFA officials outnumbered the players and also collected the bonuses and appearance fees.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, described the situation as “sad”, adding “The players have the right to receive their money, but it would be much easier to do this by bank transfer”.
“The fact that the money came in cash is also sad, because I was ready to sign a letter, as long as I had a copy of the agreement between the national association and the players that the money would be paid by FIFA by bank transfer into their personal accounts.
“FIFA would have made sure to deduct the players’ money from the prize money paid to the national association.”
Shortly after the appearance fees were paid, came news of the sacking of Ghana’s prolific players, Sulley Ali Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng, for insubordination in camp, towards the coach Akwesi Appiah and other management members leading to scuffles.
As things turned out, the Black Stars, were defeated by the Portugal, hence eliminated in the first round of the tournament; the first ever since Ghana participated in the 2006 Mundial.
Meanwhile, the Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Kweku Baako Jnr is incensed by the decision of President Mahama to re-assign the Sports Minister and Deputy for superintending over what he called an “unmitigated disaster” in Brazil.
While admitting that politics sometimes gave room for presidents to massage the egos of non-performing ministers with a reassignment, the Editor, said given the “public anger” that came with Ghana’s early exit it was required that the minister, Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah and his Deputy Joseph Yammin “should have been made to go home and rest.”
President Mahama last Saturday reassigned the two ministers, Afriyie-Ankrah to the Presidency and Yammin to the Ashanti Region as Deputy Minister.
Kweku Baako Jnr is not impressed by the action of the president speaking on Joy FM and MultiTV Newsfile programme on Saturday. He said the reassignment of the two is an admission by the president that the minister and his deputy have failed relative to the assignment given to them in Brazil.
“We must locate the lines of responsibility for the huge mess and unmitigated disaster,” he stated, adding that sanctions must be applied.
A day before Ghana’s game against Portugal last Thursday, the ministry again facilitated the flight of some 75 supporters from Ghana to Brazil and that too got Baako Jnr. incensed.
“That is crazy. Flying supporters to Brazil on Wednesday to watch a match on Thursday? Kweku Baako burst out, adding they did not even watch the match.
The Editor was also embarrassed by the decision of government to fly an amount of over US$3million to Brazil to satisfy the demands of the players.
He was even angrier with the Deputy Minister, who decided to announce to the world that an amount of US$3 million was being flown from Ghana to Brazil to pay the players.
“That was indiscreet,” he noted, and was also critical of the president, saying he must take part of the blame.
“A fair amount of the blame should be heaped on the president,” he noted saying the mere fact that the presidential jet was used is testimony that the president gave his blessings for the monies to be flown which was in clear violation of Ghana’s laws.
The Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Kofi Adams was sympathetic towards the re-assigned minister.
He said given reports that the minister was virtually ostracised by the angry players, there was little he could do.
He criticised the players, especially Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng for their indiscipline.
Meanwhile, Nana Agyeman a Football commentator, has also called for the sacking of GFA boss, Kwesi Nyatakyi for his failures. He was at post before 2006 tournament in Germany.