A member of Ghana's 1963 and 1965 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) winning team, Rev. Osei Kofi, has attributed the Black Stars' second-place finish in the 2015 tournament in Equatorial Guinea to a token given by former president John Dramani Mahama to past winners of the competition.

"What John Mahama did [before the AFCON 2015], we got to the finals with Ivory Coast," he said in a JoySports' Prime Take interview with Muftawu Nabila Abdulai.

Ghana finished second in Equatorial Guinea despite leading a penalty shootout 2-0. The four-time AFCON champions were on a hunt to win the tournament for the first time since 1982. It was the closest the Black Stars had come since Senegal 1992 and Angola 2010.

Rev. Osei Kofi noted that Ghana's inability to win the tournament since 1982 can be attributed to the government's failure to honor promises made to players in 1963, 1965, and 1978.

"When we were going to Cameroon [for the 2021 AFCON], I heard a prophet on Asempa FM saying that, if [leadership] don't look back and cater for the old ones that won the cup, they won't get to the quarter-final, and truly, we came back with one point," he said.

In the past, many have claimed that the AFCON-winning players cursed the country because promises made to them by former heads of state, notably Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Ignatious Kutu Acheampong, were not fulfilled. They were promised houses if they won the tournament.

However, Rev. Kofi denied those claims.

"No one has cursed the team, but in the Bible, Ecclesiastes chapter 5:4-6 says, 'When you make a commitment or promise, you should not postpone fulfilling your vow. Failing to keep your promises is considered foolish, and God does not look favourably upon such behaviour.' If you know you won't honor it, don't make the promise," he stated.

"You [Ghana] promised to give us houses, and if you don't give us any, you no longer win. Does it mean we cursed you?" he quizzed.

In 2015, in an attempt to exorcise the supposed curse on the team, then-president John Dramani Mahama had dinner with the former winners and gave financial support to appease them for the failure of the state to honour the houses promised.

It was believed that the old players would be happy and God would have mercy on the team to finally win the competition, but Rev. Kofi says that was not enough.

"Can you use $5,000 to build a house? Those who went and got $100,000, what did they do that they got the $100,000? Do you know that when they came, everybody bought a house?

"My standard 7 certificate understanding, a promise, and a token, are they the same? 'Osei, go and win the Cup and come for a car'; I win, you don't give it to me, but rather say, 'What I have I will give you,' are they the same?

"The five penalty shootouts… listen to this very carefully… John Mahama, what he did, if he had fulfilled the promise, Ghana would have won the trophy. The five penalties, Ghana scored the first two, and Ivory Coast missed. Ghana needed one more to win, and we missed. You see what the token did for Ghana? The token took us to the final, but it couldn't win the cup. He needed to fulfil the promise, and we would have been champions."

When asked whether former players were given a token to appease them prior to AFCON 2010 when Ghana made the final, he said: "Mahama's assertion was just an example. When he did that, I told him I was not a learned student, but I know a promise is different from a token," he noted.

Rev. Kofi recalled that he and his colleagues were celebrated, but juxtaposing that with the current team is saddening.

"In all the four AFCONs we won, no one had a bicycle, but the recent team placed second in Equatorial Guinea, and they were given Cherokee cars. In 1965, when we won the cup and brought it, there was a big banquet."

According to him, Acheampong assured the Black Stars that each player would receive a house in the newly built Dansoman Estates if they won the Cup.

"Acheampong called me and Sempah Asante to tell the Black Stars players that if they win the cup to honour Ghana and him as the Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces in Ghana, that was when the Dansoman Estates were being built, they would be given a house each, and they won," Kofi stated.

However, this promise never materialised.

Following Acheampong's removal from power, his successor, General Akuffo, reneged on the commitment.

"Akuffo removed Acheampong and said he didn't promise. You see the unfortunate incident? When a head of state promises and the head is not there, is the state also not there?" he questioned.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.