Ghana’s deputy sports minister Joseph Yammin has come under fire for ‘reading’ politics into the country’s crucial World Cup group decider against Zambia on Friday.
The former Ashanti regional secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress is reported to have urged the Black Stars to beat their opponent to further the cap of his government in a recent interaction with the media.
He is quoted as saying: This will be the third time under the current leadership of the GFA to qualify to the World Cup and three times running, we’re qualifying,”
“I will also say that this is the first time a black coach is also in the process of qualifying the team to the World Cup.
“This will also be the second time the NDC government will qualify the team to the World Cup.
‘So it becomes 2-1 in favour of the NDC. NPP 1, NDC 2.”
In a country which has been sharply polarized on political lines, the comment has not gone done well with some members of the opposition New Patriotic Party.
Former deputy sports minister Osei Bonsu Amoah has criticized the comment insisting it has the propensity to divide the sporting fraternity.
“Between PNDC and NDC, they have ruled Ghana for almost 25 years. How many times did they qualify us to the World Cup? Amoah asked on Happy FM
“You don’t speak like that. When president Kufuor came into power, he set his goals right and so by 2004 he put things in place and so by 2006 we qualified to the World Cup.
“So you can’t say if we qualify then it becomes 2-1. Let be very careful with such utterances.
“I remember when we went to South Africa, some people from their side started making all sort of noises claiming their government was going to win the World Cup. The day we started talking like that, that was the day we lost the match when Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty.
“We should all unite and pray for the team. If you say one party did this and you can do this and you divide the nation, the spirit will dwindle.
“When I was there, there was no player that I didn’t know his political affiliation. But I never spoke to any player about party issues.
“All I know is that he is in Ghana jersey. After all when we went to Germany, nobody said NPP sent us to the World and so NPP congrats.
“Every white man you meet will tell you Ghana you’ve done well. So when it comes to football we shouln’t brings politics into it.”
Ghana marked their debut World Cup appearance during the tenure of President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2006 in Germany where the team finished at the 1/16th stage.
The African powehose made it into the quarters four years later in South Africa under the Presidency of late leader John Evans Attah Mills.
Pressure is therefore mounting on current President John Dramani Mahama to follow the status quo and help the country qualify to the world mundial under his watch.
But the recent political climate resulting from a disputed Presidential election has further polarized the West African powerhouse with many religious leaders and civil society groups making frenetic moves to unite the nation.
It was widely feared the Black Stars could enjoy little support from Kumasi – the stronghold of the opposition New Patriotic Party after the country’s Supreme Court dismissed a petition brought against against President Mahama by opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo.
But the Kumasi fans have demonstrated their love and commitment to the national team by given the players and officials a rapturous welcome they touched base in the garden city- venue for the cracker on Wednesday.