Feature: If I were a delegate...

Author: Ebo Kwaitoo

If I were to be among the 120 delegates to decide who becomes the next president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) on Thursday, I would have an independent mind to put the future of the game above any other consideration.

To wit, I would consider every misfit among the six candidates (I have left Palmer out for now till the CAS ruling) as an insult to my intelligence and also reckon any influence of money for my vote as an insult to my intelligence. I would also see some of the candidates as living in a fantasy world with their lofty promises which they could not gather the courage to defend when it matters most. Simply put, we need a realist to build upon Kwesi Nyantakyi's legacy; not somebody who will merely play to the gallery of hungry friends and cronies!

If I were a delegate, my mind would have been made up by now as to who to vote for per my own persuasions other than any external influence. I would have scanned through the candidates' qualities and manifestos to be able to tell each candidate in the face as to who deserved my vote. Votes go a long way to determine destinies of the present generation and posterity; hence, they cannot be toyed with.

I must confess that I loved the sincerity that was exhibited by Randy Abbey, the bankroller of Division One side, Kpando Heart of Lions, on Joy FM's Sports Link hosted by Nathaniel Attoh last Saturday. As a veteran who was a key member of Nyantakyi's golden era from 2005 to 2010, and also from a spokesman of Accra Hearts of Oak to a financier of a second tier side, Randy's opinion cannot be taken for granted at all.

In plain language, Randy said his preferred candidate was Fred Pappoe (Papsay), who incidentally was Nyantakyi's vice-president during the period when the GFA had the Midas touch. During the first five years of Nyantakyi's administration, everything the FA touched turned into gold, resulting in the nation's first two FIFA World Cup qualifications in Germany and South Africa in 2006 and 2010 respectively, as well as winning Africa's first gold at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt in 2009. It was also during the same period that the GFA was inundated with corporate sponsorship like the sand at the seashore.

Randy made my day simply because he made me to realise that I had a like-minded individual at the top hierarchy of the FA. As an active financier-cum-administrator, he knew who was cut for the job in the supreme interest of investors in the game.

The endorsement of Papsay by Randy gives me a good feeling because I made a similar call in this column a few weeks ago by stating that Pappoe was the most experienced and mature among the candidates as far as the top GFA job was concerned. That is a fact which the other candidates will admit.

Randy also revealed that he tried in vain to convince the old guards among the candidates to come to a consensus and throw their weight behind one candidate because their expertise would be needed at the new Executive Council (ExCo) to advance the cause of Ghana Football. That was the same advise I gave in one of my pieces in the GFA elections series.

Apart from Papsay, another candidate who I believe fits the bill when it comes to the modern trends of the game is Kurt Okraku. I worked closely with Kurt at the FA Cup Committee for almost eight years (from 2010-2018) and can attest to his qualities as a great thinker and an achiever. Beneath that unassuming demeanour is that dexterity that easily turns impossible situations around. Kurt is simply an embodiment of a modern day leader with the charisma to adjust to any given situation.

Though I know this might not go down well with the sympathisers of George Afriyie, I must say that if I were a delegate, my vote would not go to him for various reasons. But in summary, I think he is competing with some top guns in the game who are better than him! Mind you, my relationship with Afriyie dates way back and he will be the best person to school his modern-day disciples.

For the intelligent and affable Nana Yaw Amponsah, he has what it takes to become the FA president in future. Despite his lofty ideas, he does not stand a chance to win this election with history as a guide. The truth is that GFA elections do not favour newcomers!

That is why I don't give a dog's chance to Nana Yaw Amponsah, George Ankoma Mensah and the only female candidate in the race, Amanda Clinton, as neophytes in Ghana Football politics. It is high time their followers told them the truth so they would manage their expectations for now and hope for the future.

Talking about expectations, I would like to advise the front-runners not be overly confident about their chances since anything can happen on the D-day. In this moment of suspense, the dynamics could change if the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rules in favour of Wilfred Kwaku Osei (Palmer). When that happens, Palmer, who is a formidable force already, could get some sympathy votes to change the face of the elections.

Until we hear from CAS, I can only wish to be a delegate one day!