The latest match-fixing scandal to hit Ghana football should prompt some definite action, unlike others in the past
By: Joshua Ansah
New Edubiase striker Prince Antwi has sparked what could turn out to be a full–blown scandal this week after making claims that his relegation-threatened employers played a game of convenience in their 2016 Ghana Premier League first round fixture versus leaders Wa All Stars.
It’s a story we’ve heard before, of course, only with different characters this time.
Unsurprisingly, the club ‘fingered’, league leaders All Stars, were the first to comment on the issue, urging the Ghana Football Association’s Ethics Committee to investigate before the rumour gets so bad that it mars what increasingly looks like a very likely run to a first major title for the Northern Blues.
Said committee has duly obliged, thankfully, taking up All Stars’ challenge and releasing a statement to that effect. Still, the consequences of this fresh allegation might be monumental no matter which way the findings swing — and especially when the ‘guilty’ party is owned by GFA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi.
As implied at the outset, allegations of bribery, coercion, underhand dealings and match–fixing are not new to the Ghanaian football community. There’s usually a suspected scandal brewing every other week, especially at this point in the season where so much is at stake, and although very few of these have ever grown beyond mere speculation, talk remains a very influential agent in building — and wrecking — reputations. Such talk has created a cloud of doubt around football in this country that will only be darkened by Antwi’s claims, adding to a long line of similar suspicions which, as always, have people wondering when ever there was any smoke without fire.
Antwi’s comments may have produced the latest headlines but, in very recent memory, the GFA itself has had to deal with stories of shady dealings surrounding certain major national team games, with leaked details of specific financial documents suggesting that considerable funds were spent on such assignments for purposes which, even to the informed, were quite obscure.
Clearly, then, the past and present don’t make for good reading and one wonders whether the future will be any different. Granted, the GFA has tried being as open and accountable as is reasonable but, often simply choosing to watch a scandal blow over rather than clear the minds of the general public with clearly defined explanations for whatever irregularities that may be presented, they’re hardly helping the climate. While rumour has faded over time — with nearly every single allegation losing steam and disappearing to leave the GFA with little to do — it has been at a cost that may be far more damaging than is obvious, as each rumour, though not officially confirmed and proven, leaves behind traces of doubt that have gradually come together to create the fog that blurs the transparency of football in the country.
A fog that, needless to say, must be cleared in one fell swoop this time — never mind that, for better or worse, we’d have All Stars to thank for it.