….For questioning GH¢132.9 million expenditure
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) appears not remorseful over the outrageous GH¢132.9 million amount blown on the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire, despite the senior national team’s exit from the tournament at the group stage.
The GFA, has attempted pleading with Ghanaian fans to forgive the Black Stars over the shambolic performance, but one of its officials, Nana Oduro Sarfo, an Executive Council member, is adverse with attempts to question the Sports Ministry’s 2023 budget for the AFCON and has unleashed his acerbic tongue on those doing so.
Oduro Sarfo, has been reacting to North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s exposé on the Sports Ministry’s budget for AFCON 2023, saying his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) rather superintended over Ghana’s most expensive AFCON campaign.
He, however, failed to provide the necessary breakdown unlike the GH¢105 million released for the event and GH¢27. 9 million blown on the qualifiers.
These amounts did not, include what the National Security sent to supporters to cheer one of the poorly performing teams in Ghana’s football history.
In a statement on Tuesday, the GFA took responsibility for the Black Stars’ sub-par campaign, stating that it “fell short of the high expectations we all share.”
The GFA apologised to Ghanaians for the Black Stars’ group-stage exit from the AFCON 2023 tournament, a week after the team was eliminated
Ghana crashed out of AFCON 2023 winless, losing their opening game in the competition to Cape Verde, before draws with Egypt and Mozambique, saw them finish with two points.
In a social media post, the NDC MP, published an official government document that showed the country allocated in excess of US$8.5 million for the tournament.
But speaking on Asempa FM on Tuesday, Oduro Sarfo, claimed that the MP made the document public as a diversionary tactic.
“He may have published the details to influence public discourse and deflect our focus from important issues. Maybe he did not like the fact that the New Patriotic Party’s Parliamentary Primaries were peaceful, free and fair,” he said.
“Or because he does not want Ghanaians to talk about the resumption of work on the National Cathedral.”
Oduro Sarfo, doubled down by stating that, in the history of Ghana’s participation at the AFCON, the most ridiculous budgets have been approved by NDC governments.
“I have done my research and concluded that, in the history of this country, NDC governments have approved the most outrageous of budgets as far as AFCON is concerned.”
“Even though the prize money for AFCON 2015 was $1.5, they (the NDC government) budgeted $15m.”
Joy Sports checks have, however, disproved this allegation.
In February 2015, then Sports Minister, Mahama Ayariga, informed Parliament that Ghana’s approved budget for the tournament was $4,774,519.19.
Government paid $3,224,139.20 in bonuses and allowances to players, the technical team, the management committee, as well as other officials of the team.
The Ministry, said it reduced payments to players by 20percent, while technical team members saw a 30percent cut on their earnings from the previous tournament.
Mahama Ayariga, also told Parliament that the Ministry spent ₵3,242,588.00 on the AFCON 2015 Qualifiers.
However, the minority caucus in Parliament rejected his account of the government’s expenditure, because it did not include a full breakdown or an intermixed report of the budget.
Nana Oduro Safo, cautioned North Tongu MP, to desist from engaging in cheap political commentary and focus on his mandate to influence policy making.
“He should concentrate on his job of passing bills in Parliament and stop engaging in small, small, cheap politics in football.
“It is not the best,” he concluded.
Sometime in April 2023, the same Nana Oduro Sarfo, was forced to apologize to one of the country’s celebrated footballers, Stephen Appiah, over his comment of lack of knowledge.
Mr Oduro Sarfo’s remarks came in response to comments made by former Black Stars captain, Stephen Appiah, on football administration in Ghana.
The football administrator was heavily criticized by Ghanaian football fanatics after calling on former footballers, including Appiah to better themselves in education to be able to hold positions in football administration.
His comments have, however, been met with public rage, following which he retracted and apologized to the former Juventus ace for his words.
“What I want to say is that my words were misinterpreted,” he told Asempa FMon theUltimate Sports Show, adding “I will never disrespect Stephen Appiah. He is a legend of the football community in the country and the world as well.
“I spoke to a Kumasi-based radio station and Onua FM and whatever I said, I retract them. I have a good relationship with Stephen Appiah and Laryea Kingston. I have tried to call him [Stephen Appiah] but I can’t because of how my words have been misinterpreted.
“Laryea is out of town and when he returns, I will let him lead me to see Stephen Appiah and apologize to him.
“For now, I apologize and retract my words,” he added.
Stephen Appiah has said that the experiences garnered by ex-footballers have been left to rot as a result of being sidelined by authorities in charge of the game.
“Legends and former players are not getting the chance around football administration. I have learned something that football is run by footballers. It is not the grammar or English that you speak,” he said on Sompa FM.
The GFA statement on Tuesday said, “the Ghana Football Association extends our sincerest apologies to the good people of Ghana and all stakeholders for the recent disappointing performance of the senior national team, the Black Stars at the Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023,” the FA said.
“We understand the disappointment and frustration that such results can bring to our passionate football-loving nation. We take full responsibility for the disappointment.”
As usual the head coach, Chris Hughton, has been fired after Ghana’s exit was confirmed, while the Black Stars’ technical team was also dissolved. The search for a new head coach is being spearheaded by a five-member committee led by Vice President, Mark Addo.
The GFA also announced that after a meeting of the Executive Council of the Association and Chairmen of the RFAs it was conducting a thorough review of various aspects of the national team, including strategies, training, compensation and overall structure.
The Association added that it was committing to “restoring the pride and success we all desire for the Black Stars.”
“We value the unwavering support of our stakeholders, and we commit to working tirelessly with you to ensure a stronger and more competitive team. Your loyalty and passion are the driving forces behind our efforts to rebuild and elevate the standard of Ghanaian football.”