Day 28: Why Nyantakyi swore with the Qur’an, and did he lie?

nyantakyi-commission“Fired up” and “ready to fight” best describe Kwesi Nyantakyi on Tuesday when he appeared at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

Before 10am one would have thought the entire day was to be dedicated to him. The FA boss came with an entourage.

Fans. Well wishers. Serial callers. And his fellow FA members. They sang. They danced. And they besieged the Media Center of the Accra Sports Stadium.

He did not disappoint on day 28, although the weightier matters were shifted until the following day.

Kwesi Nyantakyi the Muslim

The GFA president’s appearance was always going to have subplots and it began right from the beginning.

Justice Dzamefe: “What book would you want to swear by?”

Nyantakyi: “The Qu’ran.”

This completely took the gallery off guard, and it showed in the inflected tone of Moses Foh-Amoaning
“Are you a muslim?”

Nyantakyi: “Yes.”

With an absence of a muslim name and a religious life out of public view, Nyantakyi’s decision to swear by the Islamic holy book raised a few eyebrows, especially as he is known to frequent the Trinity Baptist Church at East Legon, where his wife also worships.
FA sources close to the GFA boss told Citi Sports a bit more.

“Nyantakyi’s mother is muslim and that’s where his Northern accent comes from. He was raised a muslim and was actually incredibly active as a member of the National Muslim Students Union in his tertiary days.”

In fact, to be sure that Nyantakyi is really a muslim (as there is still some doubt), our sources say he may be asked to swear again on Wednesday.

But before the Nyantakyi spectacle, his acting general secretary caused a stir of his own.

Black Stars code of conduct

The GFA’s Acting General Secretary Emmanuel Gyimah told the commission that while some of the Black Stars players have signed and returned a new code of conduct, others say they have handed the contracts to their lawyers for counsel.

The decision to have players sign a code of conduct has become necessary following concerns that the playing body had forgotten what it means to wear the national team jersey.

But Foh-Amoaning was unhappy, as he expressed dissatisfaction at the lax way with which the players have been handled pointed out that “players must be told they are not bigger than the nation.”

He said any player who felt he could not accept the terms of the contract should be shown the door, for there were many more players desirous of donning the national jersey on its terms.

According to Gyimah, some of the players who remain in the team were yet to sign the contract, claiming to have issued the contract to their lawyers.

Mr Amoaning wondered if the players had been given a deadline by which to respond to the contracts, and counselled that the GFA set a date by which to kick out players who had not signed the contract.

Ghost names?

The acting General Secretary of the GFA also revealed that the Black Stars management team members received over $500,000 as appearance fees, providing two “ghost names” to justify the monies received.

His testimony appears to sharply contradict that of his boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi, who said at a press conference on July 2 after the World Cup that management committee members did not benefit from any bonuses, but rather “honorariums”.

Gyimah said that a total of US$577,700 was paid to seven (7) members of the management team even though only five (5) went to the tournament.

The extra two (2) names provided as a management members were Jordan Anagblah, a former vice-president of the FA, who died in June 2012 and Emmanuel Kyeremeh, owner of Berekum Chelsea who did not go to Brazil.
Of winning bonuses

Gyimah added that the management members were also paid winning bonuses and per diem just like the Black Stars players.

When asked by Justice Dzamefe whether the management team members should be paid appearance fees, Gyimah argued that the team members play a pivotal role for the Black Stars team and that they deserve it.

Commission: By the definition of appearance fee that I understand, correct me if am wrong, that appearance fee is paid for one appearing for an activity. If you divided the [$577,500] by [$82,500] you have seven. And I’m asking how many people appeared for the event and am asking you that how many people appeared for the activity?

Gyimah: In terms of the management my lord?

Commission: Yes. Am not against the appearance fee but if it has to be paid it has to be paid.

Gyimah: The management members?

Commission: How many? Mr Gyimah lets progress, give us the numbers and let’s progress.

Gyimah: There were five management members there.

Commission: Five management members appearing for the activity?

Gyimah: Yes, my lord.

Commission: And you took money for seven (7) management members?

Gyimah: Yes my lord.

The GFA capo comes

The much-awaited appearance of Kwesi Nyantakyi, the GFA President, lasted for just over an hour and he did not waste time to fly barbed comments at his detractors.

“When you are in football they think you are a thief. You are presumed guilty before you prove your innocence… and I don’t think that is right.”

But he attempted to massage the commission, whose “brilliant work” he lauded, and said the platform is to clear his name was pleasing.

Misconception of Black Stars

In fact, a common complaint from the members of the public is that why does the GFA not use some of the money the Black Stars attracts to help the national teams?

Nyantakyi went on to say that contrary to public perception, the Black Stars money is actually used to take care of all other national teams.

“If you look at the financial statements of the GFA from 2006 to 2013 – an eight year period, you see clearly that 84% of the GFA’s funding is from sponsors. And 74% of that [84%] goes to the Black Stars and 17% goes to the other national teams.”

He went on: “If you look at the same period the GFA has spent over 36 million Ghana cedis on the national teams – and not a single tax-payers’ money in that.”

There has also been a lot of debate about the frequent incidents of other national team coaches who are not paid regularly.

President Nyantakyi explained that his outfit has, for some time not, only hired coaches of other national teams on a part time basis because the FA could not afford paying them on a long-term basis, as was the previous practice.

“After a review of the two-year contractual relationship with coaches, we realized we could not continue the status quo – we had to take another step.

“The current arrangement is that now that unlike the previous practice where we said it should be a full-time position, we have now allowed people to combine those positions with their club commitments.

“So now you earn your camp allowances as well as your winning bonuses as when you earn them. So that has ameliorated the hardship a bit.”

State owes GFA

The FA boss says he is all for accountability, admitting that the GFA were faced with challenges and pointed out that the paying of salaries to coaches has been done solely by the sport body.

“In 2011, we agreed with the Sports Minister to engage coaches and contracts were signed for two years (2011-2013).

“Head Coaches were contracted to earn $3,000 with the assistants getting $1,000. Government is indebted to the tune of $293,000 but we have managed to reduced it to $175,128,” Nyantakyi said.

“We need enough funds to run at an efficient level but we don’t have the resources to do that because of the cost of running it. We are not putting in much but the overriding consideration is that we are poor so the much to add, there maybe not be much.”


But there couldn’t be an appearance of the GFA boss without some slippery patches.

Last month, the chief director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports had said at the commission that the Ministry was not responsible for paying coaches of the other national teams $3,000 each.

Nyantakyi was indignant in his disagreement.

“There is no documentary proof of that, my Lord, but fortunately we are alive to testify. I believe this commission can verify with the ministry.”

Foh-Amoaning: “It’s a good pint you make because the chief director of the ministry was here and testified to the contrary.”

Nyantakyi: “Well that testimony will be subject to further interrogation. I believe that maybe he has forgotten. But there was an agreement.”

The FA President lamented the “poor institutional memory” as a result of the well-documented high turnover of sports ministers since he came into office.

Nyantakyi resumes his time with the commission on Wednesday, October 1.



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