Ghana’s decision to demand security guarantees from FIFA has yielded a positive response from world football’s governing body.
In what can be described as a landmark gesture, FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has directed his general secretary, Mr. Jerome Valcke to sit with Ghana to address Ghana’s concerns and fears.
It is however unlikely that more than 200 supporters would be allowed to travel to Egypt unless there are firm security guarantees for their safety before during and after the game.
In a letter to the Ghana Football Association, FIFA has agreed to sit with Ghana’s Sports Minister Hon Elvis Afryie Ankrah and Ghana FA Chief Kwasi Nyantakyi.
The two sports administrators would be joined by former Ghana captain and football icon Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’ who’s contribution following the input of President Mahama was key to FIFA taking Ghana’s petition ”seriously”.
The third person completing a powerful Ghanaian trio is CAF/FIFA International Coordinator Anthony Baffoe.
Sports minister Afriyie Ankrah is due back in Accra from Monaco at the weekend where he addressed the 7th Annual Peace and Sports International Forum with over 700 high-profile decision makers from sports governance. The participants shared ideas on how sports can make a tangible contribution to peace processes around the world.
In Ghana’s case, fears of violence and possible attack by opponents of the military regime were raised by the West Africans in their letter to FIFA.
The decision to use all football and diplomatic channels has proven to be a wise one with the Togolese capital Lome being chosen as the venue where FIFA’s Valcke will be flying directly to from Brazil.
Analysts have been quick to caution that the significance of this gesture by FIFA is more symbolic than anything else. A change of venue is highly unlikely and besides any review would only be done after the second leg of the CAF Champions League final to be played in Cairo between Egyptian side Al Ahly and Orlando Pirates of South Africa on Sunday the 10th of November.
In the meantime the Ghana Football Association has confirmed Istanbul, Turkey as the base for the Black Stars training camp from Monday 11th to Sunday 17th November.
The team will leave Istanbul to Cairo on the 18th, play on the 19th before returning to Accra.
A joint team of experts dispatched by the GFA and the sports ministry to assess the situation on the ground in Cairo has returned to brief authorities in Accra.
Based on their report, the number of Ghanaian supporters who would be allowed to travel to Cairo would be confirmed and given the green light.