AL-SMITH: The clear state attempt at controlling Ghana football is worrying

AL-SMITH: The clear state attempt at controlling Ghana football is worrying
Source: Ghana/Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith
Date: 15-03-2019 Time: 02:03:18:pm

Only a blind person will fail to see the insidious party politics and state agenda creeping into Ghana's football structure since the Normalisation Committee was formed.

The Anas exposé was done to clean the system. It was also a silent call for all stakeholders to ensure that nobody hijacks the new era.

'Number 12' was a klaxon for vigilance, a wail for transparency, and a nudge to diligence.

What we have seen so far with key appointments is the subtle infiltration of pro-government personnel in significant football positions. It is almost as if there is an empty chessboard being strategically filled with pieces in their unnatural positions.

My job is not to be popular, so I do not mind the predictable comments of "let's look at competence first" that will follow this piece. Yes, competence is key, but so are the optics.

The state (there is a reason I did not say 'the government) is so obviously trying to have control of the running of football.

Note that when this becomes the norm, both NPP and NDC will simply follow the template when they come into office - and that's why I use 'state'.

We may have had issues with the so-called football people, but the fact remains that whatever political parties have touched in this country has not fared any better.

In this country, when a plan in motion is hijacked by a party, the plan slowly, but inexorably contorts itself into Achlys.

The symbol of mist and death in Greek myths, yes, that same Achlys.

They destroy everything good. They create, they loot and they share. They obstruct and distract. They flood sensitive areas with footsoldiers and puppets who answer directly to the Presidency and not to the positions they occupy.

We have a litany of past and recent examples over the world, especially in South America and here in Africa, to know that this isn't impossible here.

The Black Stars remain Ghana's most potent football brand, despite its problems. Control of that brand lends power that will spill into other areas.

Let me be specific.

The appointment of a 5-member committee to help the Black Stars is a red flag. The composition of that committee is a flag that should not be ignored. And it is the latest in a series of waving flags in the last several months.

Without mentioning names, there ARE competent people in there. But there are people who are there clearly on party business.

The obvious question: so who do I want there? It is not about who I want. It is about a composition that will be inclusive, one that will not lend credence to grumblings of the NPP-risation of our football. Appoint committees that look and feel representative.

The Normalization Committee should care about forming bodies that push us toward less such accusations, and not more.

Other flags?

The reshuffling of national team positions based on unknown criteria, an unnecessary Normalisation Committee tenure extension (which will happen, but should not), and even key appointments to Normalization Committee ad-hoc committees.

All these should not be just brushed aside due to a lack of evidence.

We know how Ghana works. This is how it begins.

We are all here at this point in time to fix football, not to worsen it. The workings of football for Africa in general, and Ghana in particular means that at every point, the state will have an involvement.

However, this period of normalisation is the best time to tone down on state influence in appointments and increase its influence in policy. This is not the time to allow party politics to helm the system.

We may not have leaked audios or investigative videos to signpost these coming events, but they are casting their shadows. 

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