“Once is an Accident, Twice is a Coincidence, Three Times is a Pattern.” Ann Liang, If You Could See the Sun

The Ghana FA’s (GFA) refusal to publicly acknowledge their shortcomings or apologise to Ghanaians for the Black Stars poor showing at AFCON 2023 points to the insidious lack of accountability at the GFA.

This is also perhaps a sad reflection of the egos at play within the organisation’s leadership. In January 2022 the GFA president was presented with an opportunity on Accra based Asempa fm to sooth the bruised emotions of the Ghanaian public following the painful exit from Afcon 2021 days earlier; he declined the opportunity and instead retorted that "Ghanaians have every right to speak their minds as far as the performance of the Black Stars is concerned,".

Two years on and an extended mandate later the GFA president and his team have assumed the same posture. One may struggle to comprehend how an institutional apology or expression of contrition impugns the personal feelings of the FA’s leadership. Since Ghana officially exited AFCON 2023 several Black Star players, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, have apologised to the taxpayers. The GFA on the other hand wants to proceed with business as usual. Sound leadership takes responsibility for its actions and their outcomes. So, unless the FA is planning a special session at some point to address the fallouts from AFCON 2023, their deafening silence is a middle finger to the people of Ghana. It is also a sign that they neither feel responsible nor accountable for their role in the entire fiasco.

Let me use the management concept of the Accountability Ladder to illustrate why the GFA’s apparent unwillingness to engage with the public on the Black Stars issue smacks of an institution that has lost touch with its primary stakeholders, the Ghanaian public.

Bob Gordon, the former president of the NAACP, who popularised the concept explains that that people on levels 1-4 of the accountability ladder typically believe things happen to them and behave as if they are the victims, whereas those on the upper levels (5-8) believe things happen because of them, and they behave in ways that are proactive and truly accountable.

The Ghana Football Association is at present exhibiting all the traits of an institution at the lowest rungs of the accountability latter. At these levels the person or entity behaves as if they are not even aware of the situation or that a problem exists. Even when they are aware of a problem, they do not take responsibility for their part in it. Instead, they choose to blame others. This is quite au fait to those who have followed the deeds of the current GFA leadership. The first step taken by the FA after the tournament was to sack the coach and announce a search party to appoint a replacement. This move presumably lays the blame fully on Chris Hughton and absolves the FA of any culpability whatsoever. In other words, no problem exists on their side.

Again, this person is aware but unwilling to take full responsibility for their part in a situation or problem and make excuses as to why. The technical team, playing body and to an extent the media have taken the rap for the disaster that was Cote d’Ivoire 2023, but as some people have observed there must be a reason why the Black Stars have not turned improved these last few years despite a revolving door of coaches and players. It has become painfully obvious that the one party that has not been put under the spotlight is the leadership of the Ghana football which seems to be pointing fingers at everyone except itself!

In the upper levels of the accountability ladder a person or entity acknowledges that there is a challenge, and something needs to be done about it. They are willing to own their part in it and explore what to do about it. They take responsibility for their part, and actively commit to finding a solution. When they find that solution, they put it into action. That is the level the Ghana Football Association should aspire to reach. Until then Ghanaians should resign themselves to more “ma try, ma kwε” (loosely translated ‘let’s try and see’).

By Samuel Bartels. X: @Sammybartels

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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.