Ghanaian FA Names New Head After Corruption Scandal

Newly elected President of Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kurt Okraku gives a speech after the GFA president’s election at the Physicians and Surgeons Centre in Accra on October 25, 2019. 
CRISTINA ALDEHUELA / AFP

 

The Ghanaian Football Association on Friday named a new president more than a year after a corruption scandal forced a major shake-up of the game in the West African nation.

Kurt Okraku — chief executive of local Premier League club Dreams FC — filled the position left vacant since Kwesi Nyantakyi stepped down after an undercover documentary showed him soliciting kickbacks worth millions of dollars.

Okraku got the nod from the 120 delegates after beating former FA vice president George Afriyie at a second round of voting.

The expose by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas rocked football in Ghana and led to the creation of a “normalisation committee” to lead reforms in the FA before a new president could be chosen.

Ghana’s government said the  revelations in 2018 had exposed “gross malfunctioning… characterised by widespread fraud, corruption and bribery” at the country’s FA.

Nyantakyi was banned from football for life by the sport’s world governing body FIFA last October after being found guilty of bribery and corruption.

The sting also saw a string of referees banned for life in Ghana and football officials in a number of other African countries sanctioned.

AFP

Border Closure: No Country Is Targeted, Nigerian Govt Tells Ghana

Photo: Twitter- @GeoffreyOnyeama

 

 

The Nigerian Government says there is no ulterior motive in its decision to close the nation’s borders.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this during a meeting with two Ghanaian ministers on Thursday in Abuja.

He told Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration, Shirley Botchwey, and the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, that no country was targeted in the border closure.

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According to the minister, Nigeria, as a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), respects the rules of the regional body.

He gave assurance that free movement of persons and goods would continue, stressing that the border closure was targeted at criminal activities and not countries.

Onyeama also informed the Ghanaian ministers that the Nigerian government would ensure that issues raised by their country would be looked into and addressed as soon as possible.

Read the tweets by the minister below:

Ghana Arrests Suspects Over ‘Plot’ Against Government

Ghana Flag

 

Ghana’s security forces have arrested at least three suspects over an alleged plot to destabilise the government, the information minister said.

“The joint operation was to neutralise an elaborate plot targeted at the presidency, and with the ultimate aim of destabilising the country,” Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said in a statement Monday.

He said those arrested last Friday included a medical doctor whose premises –- Citadel Hospital, in the capital, Accra — were being used to manufacture weapons for the alleged plot.

The security agencies had been monitoring the activities of the suspects including their contacts with some soldiers over the past 15 months, he said.

“We also have in custody military persons and an officer in connection with these plots. We are not taking anything for granted in this case,” Nkrumah told AFP by telephone from Washington on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: At Least 20 Killed, Dozens Injured In Papua Unrest

He assured the public that “state security agencies remain vigilant, and will work to safeguard national security and public safety”.

Ghana is viewed as a bulwark of stability in a region characterised by insecurity and turbulence.

The West African nation has been run by democratically elected governments since 1992 and is gearing to hold fresh polls late next year.

Incumbent Nana Akufo-Addo looks set to face a challenge from former leader John Mahama for the top job.

The statement on the alleged plot sparked further questions in the country.

Security analyst Festus Aboagyehe called for more information and warned that the authorities appeared too quick to conclude the suspects were plotting to destabilise the government.

“I cannot put words in the mouth of government but the agencies involved are expected to be professional enough to explain exactly what this group was about,” the retired army officer told local media.

“I do not exactly understand what targeting the presidency means,” he added.

Ex-Ghanaian International Agogo Dies At 40

Ghana’s Junior Agogo celebrate his team’s victory against Namibia 24 January 2008 in Accra after their 2008 African Cup of Nations match. Ghana won 1-0. AFP PHOTO / ABDELHAK SENNA
ABDELHAK SENNA / AFP

 

Former Ghana international striker Junior Agogo has died at the age of 40, four years after suffering a stroke, the country’s football association said Thursday.

“The Ghana Football Association is saddened by news of the sudden demise of ex-Ghana star Junior Agogo,” tweeted the African country’s federation.

“On behalf of the Ghanaian football fraternity, we extend our sincere condolences to the family of our Black Star, Junior Agogo. May his soul Rest In Peace.”

Agogo won 27 caps and scored 12 goals for Ghana. He was also part of the squad which made the semi-finals of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.

Agogo played for a number of British clubs including Nottingham Forest, Bristol Rovers, QPR and Barnet.

He also featured for Egyptian club Zamalek and Apollon Limassol in Cyprus before ending his career at Hibernian in Scotland in 2012.

AFP

AFCON: Tunisia Goalkeeper Apologises For Action During Ghana Clash

Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen (L) reacts to being substituted during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Ghana and Tunisia at the Ismailia Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 8, 2019. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen apologised Tuesday for his furious reaction to being substituted ahead of a penalty shootout against Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Hassen, 24, was replaced by Farouk Ben Mustapha right at the end of extra time in Monday’s last 16 clash that Tunisia won 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Ismailia.

“I want to come back on yesterday’s incident and I will start first of all by offering an apology to the coach, my teammates as well as the supporters of the national team,” Hassen tweeted, putting his “regrettable reaction” down to the “pressure of the match”.

READ ALSO: No Bid For Pogba, Solskjaer Dismisses Rumoured United Exit

The incident was reminiscent of this year’s English League Cup final when Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to come off ahead of a shootout eventually won by Manchester City.

Hassen, however, begrudgingly made way for Ben Mustapha, whose save from Caleb Ekuban proved the difference as Tunisia prevailed to set up a meeting with surprise quarter-finalists Madagascar.

“I’m committed to having a positive attitude and cohesive spirit for the rest of my career with the Carthage Eagles,” he promised.

AFP

Tunisia Win On Penalties To End 54-Year Dominance By Ghana

Tunisia’s players celebrate their win during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Ghana and Tunisia at the Ismailia Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 8, 2019.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Tunisia defeated Ghana 5-4 on penalties Monday with Ferjani Sassi converting the decisive spot-kick to end a 54-year Africa Cup of Nations losing streak against the Black Stars.

After a 1-1 draw following extra time in Ismailia, Tunisia scored from all five penalties while Ghana substitute Caleb Ekusan had his attempt saved by Farouk Ben Mustapha, who came off the bench especially for the shootout.

Victory was sweet for Tunisia as they had lost six times to Ghana in the African football showcase from 1965 after drawing the first meeting between the nations two years earlier.

On Thursday, the Carthage Eagles play giantkillers, Madagascar in a quarter-final in Cairo with the winners meeting Senegal or Benin for a place in the July 19 final.

Losing on penalties ended a Ghana run of six consecutive top-four finishes in the Cup of Nations and puts the future of coach Kwesi Appiah in doubt.

Four-time former champions Ghana changed two of the team that began a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau that enabled them to pip Cameroon for top spot in Group F on goals scored.

Both alterations were on the left side of a 4-3-3 formation with defender Nuhu Kasim and midfielder Afriyie Acquah replacing Joseph Aidoo and Owusu Kwabena.

Tunisia coach and 1980s France star Alain Giresse reacted to an embarrassing 0-0 draw with minnows Mauritania in their previous match by dropping four of the team.

Big Surprise

A big surprise was the exclusion of forward Wahbi Khazri, who had been the outstanding Tunisian attacker in the group phase and scored one of their two goals.

Bassem Srarfi, Naim Sliti and Karim Aouadhi were also relegated to the bench with Ghaylen Chaalali, Ferjani Sassi, Taha Yassine Khenissi and Anice Badri promoted.

After early yellow cards for Ghanaian John Boye, the first player to be red-carded in the group phase, and Tunisian Dylan Bronn, the first half became a cagey, even affair.

Ghana came close to scoring on 16 minutes when a Kasim header struck the post and Andre Ayew fired the rebound straight at goalkeeper Hassen Mouez.

Andre Ayew was convinced he had put the Black Stars ahead on 41 minutes when he backheeled a cross into the net, but the referee ruled that Thomas Partey handled in the build-up.

Replays showed the ball touching the chin of the Atletico Madrid midfielder rather than a hand and the disallowed goal infuriated the Ghanaians.

Midway through the second half Giresse had second thoughts about the composition of his attack, which was making little impression, and sent on Khazri in place of Badri.

Khazri needed just five minutes to make an impact with his brilliant backheel creating space for Wajdi Kechrida to cross and Khenissi scored with a shot that went in off the near post.

The woodwork foiled Ghana a second time when a Mubarak Wakaso shot from outside the box struck the far post 10 minutes from the end of regular time with Mouez beaten.

In the first minute of stoppage time, the Blacks Stars drew level with an attempted headed clearance by Bedoui looped over Mouez, who had strayed off his line.

Ghana Drops Treason Charges Against Separatist Leaders

Ghana Flag

 

Ghana on Monday dropped treason charges against nine alleged separatist leaders accused of seeking an independent state for the people of the eastern Volta region.

The nine members of the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HGSF) were arrested in a police crackdown in May and charged with plotting to create a new nation to be named “Western Togoland”.

Multiple ethnicities live in the region, a place with a history of rule by three colonial European powers.

“The state is no longer interested in the case,” government prosecutor Winifred Sarpong told a trial hearing in Accra, prompting the court to drop the charges.

Among those released was the group’s 85-year-old leader Charles Kormi Kudzordzi, who was airlifted to the capital for the trial.

The HGSF group, which says it works to advance the rights of the people in eastern Ghana, welcomed the ruling.

“This is victory for democracy,” HSGF secretary George Nyakpo, who went into hiding from the authorities, told AFP.

“We won’t relent but we’ll get to know the next line of action when we congregate again.”

Some 80 other alleged separatists were detained in May in a police operation focused on the town of Ho, some 150 kilometres (95 miles) northeast of the capital Accra.

They have since all been released on bail or let off with a caution.

In 2017, the group’s leaders were arrested and warned not to engage in activities against the state.

Britain seized much of what is now Ghana, and Germany grabbed neighbouring Togo.

After Germany’s defeat in World War I, the land was split between British Togoland and French Togoland.

When Britain left its empire in Africa, British Togoland became part of eastern Ghana in 1956.

But separatists say the area has its own unique history and culture, and want a country of their own.

The separatists began campaigning in 1972 as the “National Liberation Movement of Togoland”, dominated by the Ewe tribal group.

Their calls to renegotiate borders sparked tensions between Ghana and Togo, and in 1976, Accra banned the group.

AFP

Abike Dabiri Condemns Attacks On Nigerians Living In Ghana

 The Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa has condemned the attack on Nigerians in Kumasi, Ghana, describing it as a xenophobic attack.

Speaking at a meeting with the Consular-General of the Ghanaian high commissioner in Nigeria, Dabiri-Erewa called for the protection of the rights of Nigerians in the country.

“We need your assurances from Nigerian traders particularly in Ghana of their protection. We are here to appeal to you to protect Nigerians in Ghana, especially the traders, and to ensure that such an incident will not happen anymore,” he said.

The presidential aide, however, commended the Ghanaian government for the prompt response through the intervention of the country’s police chief.

Speaking on investments, Dabiri-Erewa noted that Nigerians have contributed immensely to the growth and development of Ghana’s economy.

READ ALSO: Confusion In Bauchi Assembly As Two Speakers Emerge

“We have a lot of investments in Ghana in education, banking, real estate and all that, that is helping the Ghanaian economy.

“So we are here to complain about what happened yesterday and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again so that Nigerians living legally in Ghana will be protected,” she said.

On his part, the Consular-General, James Nyasembi, said some persons have been arrested and will soon be charged to court.

According to him, the Ghanaian authorities will ensure that the rights of all Nigerians living in their country is protected.

“The President of Ghana has directed the Inspector General of Police, the Minister for National Security and all the security agencies to be on top of the issue.

“As we speak now, the shops have been reopened. The Nigerians who are operating their shops in Kumasi have been assured of their security, they have been asked to go back to their duties without fear of being molested or harassed by any person in the region.

“Some Ghanaians who have been involved in this act have been arrested and they have been placed before the court because it is a matter that the President of Ghana will not allow to happen to dampen the spate of excellent relations that exist between Ghana and Nigeria,” he said.

President Buhari Receives Ghana’s Akufo-Addo In Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.

The President received the Ghanaian leader on Wednesday afternoon at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Personal Assistant to President Buhari on New Media, Mr Bashir Ahmad, disclosed this on Twitter.

The meeting comes three days after the President returned to Abuja from Saudi Arabia where he attended the 14th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

See more photos of the visit below:

Ghana Captain Gyan Backtracks On Retirement After Presidential Plea

 

Ghana national team captain Asamoah Gyan on Wednesday reversed his decision to retire from international football, just weeks before the Africa Cup of Nations.

The striker said Monday he was quitting the national team after he was angered by coach Kwasi Appiah’s plan to strip him of the captaincy for next month’s finals in Egypt.

But President Nana Akufo-Addo intervened on Tuesday by telephoning the Turkey-based player, urging him to make himself available for selection.

Gyan in a statement said he has accepted the president’s request and was ready for the tournament.

“A presidential request is one that cannot be disregarded… I have taken the request of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in good faith, and will make myself available for selection by coach Kwasi Appiah,” the 33-year-old forward said in a statement.

READ ALSO: 14 Schools Participate In Day Two Of Channels Int’l Kids Cup

“My desire to help Ghana end the over three-decade-long wait to annex the AFCON trophy still burns strong and I remain committed to serving this great nation and the people of Ghana,” he added.

The tournament, expanded to 24 teams for the first time, kicks off on June 21.

The Black Stars are in Group F with defending champions Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau.

Gyan made his international debut at the age of 17 against Somalia in 2003.

He is Ghana’s all-time leading goalscorer with 51 goals in 106 appearances for the national team.

He has also featured at three World Cups, in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

AFP

Ghanaian School Wins Big As Channels International Kids Cup Kicks Off

Ghanaian School Wins Big As Channels International Kids Cup Kicks Off

 

Season 11 of the Channels International Kids Cup finals kicked off on Tuesday at the Agege Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Today’s games featured intriguing displays from pupils drawn across primary schools from various states across the country, as well as neighbouring countries, Ghana and the Republic of Benin.

The players, who were on a mission to make their schools, states, and countries proud, slugged it out in six matches.

Although 16 schools are expected to participate in the tourney, 14 schools were present at the venue at the end of Match Day 1.

While Edo State grabbed the first goal of the competition against Bayelsa, the boys from Ghana recorded the biggest win of the day.

Prior to the games, Atlanta ’96 Gold medal winning coach, Bonfere Jo, stopped by to encourage the kids while technical officials were screening them.

The celebrated coach exchanged pleasantries with the young talents and asked them to be good ambassadors of their schools and countries.

Below are the results of the games played today:

Eghaguere Primary School, Benin City, Edo 1-0 Model Primary School, Yenagoa, Bayelsa

Adetunji Primary School, Ilorin, Kwara 1-0 Holy Saviour, Modakeke, Osun

Afuaman Municipal, Ghana 3-0 Ansar-Ud-Deen, Ijebu Ode, Ogun

Banham Model, Port Harcourt, Rivers 0-0 Kaduna Sheikh Abubakar Gumi

Nosiere Primary School, Agbor, Delta 0-1 Ecole Eveil De Port-Novo, Benin Republic

Samfra School, Lagos 1-0 Kogi

See photos below:

 

Bayelsa Team

Atlanta ’96 Gold medal winning coach, Bonfere Joe
Delta Team
Edo Team
Ghanaian Team
Kaduna Team

 

Kogi Team

 

Kwara Team

 

Ogun Team

 

Rivers Team

 

Samfra Sch, Lagos

Ghana Captain Gyan Retires Ahead Of Africa Cup Of Nations

(file photo) Al-Ahli’s Asamoah Gyan kicks the ball during the AFC Champions League group stage football match between UAE’s Al-Ahli and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Taawun on March 13, 2017, at the Al-Rashid Stadium in Dubai. STRINGER / AFP

 

Ghana national team captain on Monday announced his retirement from international football just weeks before the Africa Nations Cup.

Gyan said his decision had been taken as a way to protest a plan by coach Kwesi Appiah to deny him the opportunity of captaining the Black Stars in next month’s Africa Nations Cup in Egypt.

“Upon consultation with my family and team… if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team for the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,” the 33-year-old player said in a statement.

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“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently,” added the Kayserispor striker.

Gyan is retiring just ahead of the Africa Nations Cup which kicks off on June 21.

The Black Stars are in Group F with Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau.

Gyan made his international debut at the age of 17 against Somalia in 2003.

He is Ghana’s all-time goal scorer in the national team with 51 goals in his 106 appearances.

He has also featured in three World Cups — 2006, 2010 and 2014.

AFP