Is there anything different between what ensued at the 2014 World Cup which warranted a Commission of Inquiry and the M Plaza soap opera involving the All African games Gold winning Black queens and Sports Ministry/Government?
Don't struggle to puff answers. It's a big no!
So, where do I even start?
Well, before I draw the seeming similarities between the two scenarios, this is how special our Queens had become after winning gold at the All Africa Games.
The national women team since its formation have come close to winning major silverware thrice – 1998, 2002 and now the 2015 All African Games. And that's why this feat represents the biggest achievement for the women's national soccer team, historically.
You have to wonder why it took President Mahama 2,016 hours to give the all powerful order for part payment of monies owed the Queens. Or why it took the sports ministry the same number of hours to notify the President that urgent attention was needed to prevent what was fast becoming another embarrassing spectacle for Ghana's statecraft.
The last two international shams for Ghana are identical in procedure; they just differ with the occasion. The first was when the Black Stars performed poorly at the 2014 World cup and secondly when the Queens defied all odds to win gold for the country at the All Africa Games.
And interestingly, both scenarios needed emergency phone calls to mitigate highly flammable impasses.
Did President Mahama need to make a call to the striking Black Stars in Brazil to ensure calm?
An even difficult question to ask is: did the first man of the land need to order the sports ministry to pay the Black Queens at the M Plaza Hotel in Accra when the monies were available in the country?
What's the point if the President has to run these errands for his so called representatives in the sporting sector?
Were the sports ministers in charge of the separate events (Elvis Afriyie Ankrah then and Dr. Mustapha Ahmed) so negligent and careless? Or they imagined they could have solved the situation on their own before calling for help?
And finally, why hasn't the President Out rightly fired them (if that was case) for failing to execute the jobs he assigned them?
The All African Games doesn't sneak on you. Neither does it come unannounced.
Even before the tournament, expenses and rewards were all factored into the National Sports Authority budget which was seen by the sports ministry, parliamentary select committee on sports, finance ministry and ultimately the President.
So what was the difficulty? Well, I won't be surprised if we failed to plan and put down structures for a competition we were sure of participating in as at four years ago.
At the height of the impasse last Saturday, the Sports Minister told Joy Sports the amount owed the ladies was being worked on. And my question is how?
I wonder what work he was talking about, especially when the team arrived two Sundays ago, September 20. It is unacceptable that these national heroines got their monies when when they did, last Tuesday.
Just not good enough.
The message is quite clear: the Black Queens were not appreciated and I am sorry the President needs no applause for giving the Queens $5000 after they cried blood. And after their striking actions stained Ghana's sporting cloth internationally.
You see, people read more about the Black Queens struggle to get monies owed them than how they toiled to win gold. Government has failed to learn from the bad precedent set at the 2014 World Cup.
Now let's juxtapose the two.
All the Black Stars needed last year were appearance fees which were discussed prior to the tournament. Somehow the monies never got to them and their troubles began till the money eventually moved through a private jet.
Government often makes the mistakes and forces ministers to swallow the bitter pill or makes them scapegoats, if necessary. But I will not exempt the Sports Ministry and sector head Dr Mustapha Ahmed from this.
The President is human and cannot be everywhere, so he relies on his representatives to bring him up to speed on happenings across the board.
Mahama was far away in the USA for a UN General Assembly assignment, and could for a moment be excused for not knowing what was brewing in his absence.
But could it also be that personnel at the sports ministry were deliberately delaying monies with the hope of gaining?
All of these possible scenarios could be negated or confirmed if Mr President reacts by firing the minister or issuing tough statements about his subjects' unpardonable frailties.
If nothing happens then it will be assumed President Mahama only realized at the last hour, that the girls were in no mood to take less than $5000 and gave the order.
Problem is, all other national teams who followed the M Plaza soap opera have now been socialized into thinking along these lines.
First and foremost, the country will not appreciate you even if you win gold. Therefore there is no need to die for the country and worst of all, when you are owed monies, you must continually use forceful tactics that include screaming on every available media platform. And it also includes striking to arrest the attention of those who matter.
Whatever the case, it's poor. It's sad. It's bad.
Unfortunately, no lessons have been picked from repeated shambolic episodes in our sporting history in the eyes of the world – counting from the May 9 disaster of 2001, the 2011 Maputo sham, 2014 World Cup fiasco and the 2015 Rwanda cash airlifting saga. Now the Black Queen M plaza soap opera becomes the latest in our Hall of Shame.
We just don't learn!
So let's stop the hypocrisy and tickling ourselves unnecessarily in attempts to give the impression that things are being corrected, only to repeat them in heavier doses.
What we need is a true generational mental overhaul, and soon.
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