Ghana football legend Rev. Osei Kofi has called on the incoming New Patriotic Party government to establish a separate ministry for football.
Speaking on Kumasi-based Ashh FM's "Super Sports" show, the former Black Stars player challenged the incoming government to establish a ministry for football because among all the sporting disciplines in the country, football is the only professional game.
"Football is the only professional game in this country. Table tennis, boxing, athletics and the rest are all amateur games so I propose that football be given a separate ministry so that we can check on money squandering" he said
"There should be a minister for youth and sports which will be fully financed by the government because they are amateur sports and then separate ministry for football which is a professional sport and can cater for itself" he added
According to him, the Ministry of Youth and Sports isolates football out of the lot and this enables football administrators to easily embezzle funds allowing the lesser known sports to suffer.. He explained that if football is given a separate ministry and minister, it can be well managed and checked on.
"With the current situation where we only have a minister for youth and sports, you realise that they isolate football and then squander money through football while the other disciplines are made to suffer."
He reiterated that vice president-elect Dr Mahmud Bawumia has in the past described football as a big business which can generate money for itself. This assertion by Dr Bawumia according to him holds water since it is the only professional game practiced in the country and can fetch money for the country.
"Bawumia in one of his statements said that football is a big business which can pay for itself...In Ghana football, the clubs look for their own sponsors so they have twelve sponsors so NPP should not rush. They should be cautious" he said
On calls for the return of exiled Black Star players like Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, the former Ghana international who likened his own behaviour in his hey days to that of the two players said those players were not as evil as they have been painted. He claimed that in his days, he was a symbol of equality and parity and hated to be cheated just like Kevin and Sulley Muntari.
He said the players have been misunderstood most of the times and deserve to be respected just like any other player on the Black Stars team because they were the reason the officials travel for the tournaments in the first place.
Using himself as example, he said the positive sides of the players should be tapped.
"In my days, anytime we reported in camp, Ben Kofi would call me to stand in the middle of the gathering and warn my colleagues not to take up my lifestyle if they did not want to be sent home early. This is because I was very troublesome but that was because i hated to be cheated" he explained
"I used to fight for my rights and that of my colleagues."
" Even though I was largely considered to be troublesome, I did my best for the nation on the pitch just like Kevin and Sulley. They fight for their rights. People say Sulley beats up elders, but tell me when have you seen him wearing boxing gloves in this country?" he joked
He also encouraged the Ghana Football Association to maintain Avram Grant for the AFCON tournament to enable continuity. As to what should be the fate of the Israeli after the AFCON tournament he was indifferent about it.
Rev Osei Kofi is the current general secretary of the Retired Footballers Association in Ghana.
By Musah Abelyire/ghanaguardian.com
credit/Akakpo Kakai/Ashh FM