Two former Black Stars and Asante Kotoko players, Abdul Karim Razak (Golden Boy) and Kwadwo Addae Kyenkyenhene have re-echoed their demand for estate houses promised by the State for winning the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
While acknowledging that former President John Dramani Mahama released a total of GHC1.7m (about $571,910) to be shared among the 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982 AFCON winning teams in recognition of their feats, Razak and Kyenkyenhene told Graphic Sports Online in separate interviews that such money “cannot be equated with the Estate Houses promised each player during the General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong administration in 1978.”
On behalf of their teammates, the two veterans made a passionate appeal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to honour the late General Acheampong’s promise as a matter of urgency.
“I have to confess that I was happy that we won the trophy for good for our country, but I have been disappointed ever since because the state failed to honour her promise to the 1978 squad.”
“Anytime the 1978 tournament comes to mind, I feel a sense of nostalgia because before the tournament, no nation had won the continental trophy for good.
"Ghana had won it in 1963 and 1965 but no nation had won it thrice at that time, so the then Head of State [General Kutu Acheampong] organised a dinner for us at his residence and promised to offer each player an estate house if we won the trophy,” Kyenkyenhene explained.
“The late Kutu Acheampong said winning the trophy would be an honour for the nation so all the players should go the extra mile to ensure that the trophy remained in Ghana.
“We, therefore, went into the tournament with every commitment, dedication and zeal to die for the trophy and that is exactly what we did,” Kyenkyenhene recalled.
“If a nation refuses to honour promises to her citizenry, it undermines the forward march of certain programmes,” Kyenkyenhene bemoaned.
For his part, Razak, who scored the lone goal that knocked out Tunisia from the tournament at the semi-final stage when Ghana hosted the rest of Africa in Accra and Kumasi, said some of his teammates died out of disappointment and misery.
“Some of my teammates, including Emmanuel Quarshie and Opoku Afriyie, died without getting their reward, but it will be a legacy for their children if Nana Addo honours the promise.
“What President Mahama offered us cannot compensate for the Estate Houses promised us by General Kutu Acheampong. If Best Farmers are given cars, in addition to houses, why should the nation refuse to honour her promise of presenting estate houses to each of the 1978 winning team?’’, he questioned.
Before releasing the GHC1.7m to the former Black Stars players in 2014, President Mahama noted that “as a token for our gratitude for the service you gave to your country, I wish to assure you that your services have not been forgotten and I have asked the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Finance to make GHC 1.7m available for you.”
“I hope that you will accept for those of you alive and for those of you gone, the families will accept the little that will be shared among you as a big thank you from the government and the people of Ghana,” he added.