Renowned investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has been in the news within the last month after it was announced his latest work would be premiered on June 6.
Titled “Number 12”, the exposé centres on activities of the Ghanaian football arena.
It was said, was going to to be explosive and it has indeed been. Excerpts of the video which were shown privately to President Nana Akufo-Addo has led to the arrest of Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Nyantakyi, according to the presidency, was spotted in the video soliciting bribes from some football investors in the name of President Akufo-Addo.
As scandalous as Nyantakyi’s arrest may be, those close to Anas have said that it was just a tip of the iceberg.
So why did Anas put his lens on the football fraternity this time? Well, Anas has explained his motivation for the whole exposé which he says will bring down the foundations of Ghana football.
In a long article in which he celebrated sports writers, football administrators and other prominent sports personalities, Anas disclosed that though football is the passion of the nation, those who have devoted their resources to the game have not benefited.
According to him, “the Alhaji Grusahs, Nanabenyin Eyisons, Abdus Salam Yakubus, Abbey Pobees – humble people with modest means who put their all into the sport – have been betrayed by a few imposters and mercenaries.”
It is for these poor folks, the duped, long suffering fans and the numerous sports journalists some of whom I have mentioned here – journalists who get to work at the crack of dawn and stay late to bring up-to-date news to the public – that I have undertaken this “Number 12” assignment,” he added.
The expose, Anas hopes, will bring “more sanity and transparency” after scrapes “clean this tainted football system for a fresh start.”
“The very foundation of Ghana football will collapse in a heap to be rebuilt by the concerned sports journalists and the honest football people who will remain standing,” he predicted.
Below is Anas’ full article:
Of Ghana’s sporting heroes and villains: The silent musing of Anas Aremeyaw Anas
It’s not my domain and I have done my best to remain in my terrain. Yet have I been hounded with a refrain of pleas I can no longer restrain. Our game is on the wane, they complain, and the very officials in charge are the bane. No matter how you train, however much you strain, you labour in vain, for the main actors have a stain on their brain, and no blood of honour in their vein.
Here I am on a long journey up-country, to Bolga, to be precise. In spite of my best effort to ensure that the car has a clean bill of Formula One health, we have had to park and attend to some creaking noise under the shaft. My driver shows clear signs of not having yet gained full mastery of the complex chemistry and engineering witchery that make up this car.
Some five metres away from where we are parked, up a small hill, a newsvendor is hanging his wares with a grin on his cheek. A colourful picture on the back page of the January 8, 2018 edition of the Daily Graphic catches my attention. It is the picture of Isaac Dogboe, Ghana’s new boxing sensation, with hands raised in triumph by the American referee, Tony Weeks. The hard-hitting Dogboe had two days earlier recorded an emphatic fifth round technical knockout victory over Cesar Juarez of Mexico to win the Interim WBO Super Bantamweight title in Accra.
“If every sport offered the possibility of the competitors being their own referees as Dogboe has done, and as Azumah Nelson did repeatedly during his heyday,” I muse.
After a little tinkering down the vehicle, the driver signals that the irritant has been fixed and restarts the engine. We are now approaching Konongo as Accra recedes into history. From the observatory of the side screen, I watched bemused, as the gentry and nobility of Konongo strut about their morning chores. A steep climb and we come upon half a dozen adolescent students. Not quite sure of the youngsters’ trajectory, the driver slows to a near stop to let them pass. The boys grim and peremptory, the girls full of coquetry, they are trudging to school; very likely one of Nana Addo’s free SHSs. Presently, I resume my mental commentary from the momentary distraction.
Now Accra-based Joy FM’s signal has weakened to a whimpering noise, so I decide to switch the radio to Luv FM, its Kumasi sister station but my dial picks another Kumasi station. A strident, youthful voice is blaring away the sports news with the volcanic ardour of a pastor who is aglow with the Holy Ghost fire. Not surprisingly, Dogboe’s Saturday night victory is on the menu.
“We have another Azumah in the offing,” the presenter declares with relish.
I mentioned Azumah in my contemplation of Isaac Dogboe’s emphatic victory a while ago. Barely ten minutes later, a radio presenter has done same. The retired champion now captures my thoughts for the next few minutes. It soon strikes me that the legend turns 60 this year. And I think that it is just the time to treat the retired sporting titan to a truly terrific testimonial.
Ghana owes the “professor” this huge moral debt; not the eyesore and insult of a “sports stadium” sited somewhere in suburban Kaneshie. Thankfully, two months after this silent protest at the sorry state of the so-called sports complex, the government has moved to rehabilitate the facility. Did someone in or close to government wire my thoughts and beat me to my spy game? I suspect Egbert Faibille Jr.
In any case, the rehabilitation of that sporting facility is a welcome initiative. Ghana must not wait to organise a national birthday bash for the brawny but bashful super boxer at 90. Even if he lives that long (which I pray he does), his powerful reflexes would have slowed and his joie de vivre so diminished that he might not reasonably be expected to dance as enthusiastically and savour the moment as much as he should. Too often, Ghana neglects its heroes. Then when they fall to eternal, fateful fatality, come and see festivities and fanfare, fanciful fashion and flowery tributes – all futile.
When beggars die, there are no comets seen
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. (Julius Caesar – Act 2 Scene 2)
Who am I to disagree with William Shakespeare? God forbid such sacrilegious conceit and arrogance that I utter the slightest grumble against the literary giant’s wisdom. But I beg to ask: “If the heavens flare up with artificial fireworks, if the atmosphere echoes to gun salutes, to the popping of champagne and the blowing of trumpets, what purpose will that serve for the poor prince if he was not accorded proper princely privileges and pampering while alive?”
This question brings me to the recent loss of a pantheon of national coaching icons; C.K Gyamfi, E.K. Afranie, Osam Duodu, Jones Attuquayefio and Sam Arday. May their souls rest in perfect peace!
The sporting media fraternity has also shed a few not-too-old leaves in the past couple of years; Sammy Okaitey, broadcaster-turned politician Nii Nortey Dua, Tony Owusu Amofa and the veteran at prime age, the baritone-voiced, placid-tempered Christopher Opoku. These gentlemen died before retirement age and threw us into premature bereavement.
I am not making the macabre suggestion that our older sports journalists are being stalked by death. The fact remains, nonetheless, that we are mortals. So regardless of whether they have half a century more years to abide with us, I think the time is now to induct the cream of our veterans into the sports journalism Hall of Fame. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, sports is not my domain. Apart from a short article criticising some discriminatory recommendations in the Government’s White Paper on the Justice Sule Nasr Gbadegbe Committee report, I have not bothered to do sports reporting. I have always considered it a pastime for Ghanaians with no bearing on the bread-and-butter issues and with no big bucks for any big boss to blow.
However, after the infamous “co-efficient” payouts to officials of the Black Stars Brazil 2014 World Cup contingent amounting to $577,500, I have begun to look at football especially differently. This is why I am so sporty today. But again, although I have followed the game a little, in terms of football reporting, I am a novice.
Moreover, this is the product of my reflection intended to beguile slumber and the tedium of the bumpy journey to Bolga, and so it will not be exactly scrummy. I therefore crave the indulgence of the maestros to forgive the inevitable gaps that this pioneer sports report will contain.
This certainly is not a piece to earn me a place in the Hall of Fame. But what are we waiting for to immortalise the yeoman contributions to Ghana football of Kwabena “Scintillating” Yeboah; should we not splash “encomiums” on this journalistic colossus without any further “polemics”? Affectionately called “The Writer”, the current SWAG President is irresistible both on paper and behind the microphone. He will always spice up his football commentary with the delightful exclamations “holoaaa”, “hundabaaa”, “and holalaaa”! It is an understatement to say that at the height of his craft, Mr. Holoaaa’s commentary and analyses, his eloquence and his competent presentation of GTV’s Sports Highlight programme made him the most popular sports journalist.
When are we going to truly recognise Moses Foh Amoaning, the “sports search engine” and “ako te brofo” of Ghana’s sports journalism? The sports journalist cum lawyer taught yours truly Law of Banking at the law school. I salute you, sir. Ken Bediako, the “Sportsclopedia” certainly deserves to be celebrated.
He may have practised sports broadcasting as a pastime and long retired from the field, but Kwabena “Argentina” Agyapong has paid his due to sports journalism and must be given a reverential salute. I was barely a teenager then when Kwabena Agyapong pulled off one of the most unlikely predictions during the 1990 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal encounter between archrivals Argentina and Brazil. The Brazilian juggernaut had crushed every opponent like a roller over mere weeds, while the Argentines had hobbled their way to that stage. Kwabena Yeboah, Kwaku Ofosu-Asare, Willie Alassane, and I believe 95% of all neutrals across the world put as Brazil odds-on favourites. Kwabena was not only convinced Argentina would upset the form guide; he also had the courage of his conviction. The engineer-turned-soccer pundit said something to the effect that by every objective criterion, Brazil were the overwhelming favourites. He insisted nonetheless that given Maradona’s sheer guile, talent and experience; given the sheer inspiration the captain’s presence offered his team mates and the terror he inspired in opponents, which, moreover, was the reason Argentina had survived the previous rounds, he (Agyepong) would stick out his neck for the underdogs.
The result? Total dominance by Brazil, but the game ended 1-0 in favour of Argentina with Maradona as the architect.
Marked out of the game for large spells, the wily fox cheated his markers’ vigilance for just one moment and peeled away, his cultured left foot caressing the ball past the Brazilian opponents with consummate ease before picking out with laser precision, the unerring right foot of Claudio Caniggia.
The Argentines then massed up in midfield and defense to defend Cannigia’s goal with stoic determination and see out the remaining ten minutes of regulation time. Kwabena Agyepong had been vindicated in a most unlikely way!
How can I forget this man who put the most accomplished soccer pundits in the world to shame?
My driver appears to have joined in my reverie and bumps the car over a steep speed rump, jerking me into full wakefulness. I hope you have not forgotten, dear reader, that I am on a journey to perform some important assignment in Bolga? Of course, it is not a “diabolical mission” so let no one panic to hear this.
We are half way between Ejisu and Kumasi so I have to wrap up. But not before I have mentioned Joe Aggrey, the headmaster of sports editors who made Graphic Sports and the back page of The Mirror a must-read for any sports enthusiast who lived his teenage years in the 1990’s. I must also mention Oheneba Charles, Ebo Quansah, Nii Lantei Vanderpuie, Karl Tuffour and good old Felix Abayateye.
I am making my quiet entry into the heart of Ashanti territory still engrossed in this mental inventory. The Garden City, as Kumasi is famously called, is, as you may know, the repository and sentry of the rich tapestry of Ghana’s culture and history.
I just went past the KNUST Junction footbridge and the hospital. The traffic light at Top High has turned red. As I wait, the Luv/Nhyira FM building about 50 metres away to the right catches my attention. “This is the fiefdom of Bright Kankam Boadu and Richard Osei Oware,” I tell myself.
The duo in a sense represent Kumasi’s version of Dan Kwaku Yaboah, Patrick “Countryman Songo” Osei Agyemeng, Saddick “Sports Obama” Adams, Kofi “Abatey” Asare Brako and Kofi Appiah – I hope you have got the link? Tireless and inveterate critics of the Kwesi Nyantakyi-led GFA characterised, according to Songo, by “sikadie, sikadie basa basa!” (Embezzlement of funds).
To some extent, Kwadwo Mensah Moshosho belongs to this group, although his focus is less on “chop chop” and more on the GFA’s seeming lack of policy direction for club football.
It does appear to me also that Odiasempa Kwame Oware, Moses Antwi Benefo, Papa Maestro, and Otuo Acheampong “Sometimer” and Ridwan Ibrahim Asante do not exactly share the view that the Nyantakyi administration has been a failure. And you, Charles Osei Asibey, what is your stand; are you hot or cold on this issue?