Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The fallout from the poor performance of Ghana’s senior national football team, the Black Stars, at the just-ended African Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, fire at a spare parts market in Kumasi, Ghana’s second biggest city, and continuing saga of the huge judgement debt paid to a businessman were some of the stories highlighted in the media this week.
“Discipline broke down in Stars camp,” was the headline of one of many stories on the poor performance of the Black Stars published by the state-owned daily Graphic.
The story said the Ghana Football Association (GFA) had confirmed speculations that there was indiscipline and division in the Black Stars camp during Ghana’s participation in the recent AFCON 2012 tournament.
It said the President of the GFA, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, told a press conference on Wednesday that those were some of the problems which were contained in Coach Goran Stevanovic’s technical report on the team’s performance at the tournament.
He said the issue of disrespect by some players, particularly the young players, as well as some of the players being selfish instead of seeking the interest of the team, affected team spirit.
The Graphic carried another story with the heading “I'm sorry – Plavi” which said Black Stars Serbian coach had rendered an unequivocal apology to the good people of Ghana for failing to deliver the 2012 African Cup of Nations trophy.
Goran, flanked by his two lieutenants, Kwasi Appiah and Edward Ansah, said there was no need for excuses and that he accepted full responsibility for what happened to the Stars at AFCON 2012.
"From the qualifiers and friendly matches we played, I was confident we could win. We wanted to win badly, but unfortunately, that did not happen. I apologise to the minister, the government, the GFA and the good people of Ghana,” said Goran, who is nicknamed Plavi.
One of the stories of the Ghanaian Times on the Black Stars had the headline “Decision on Goran’s fate in two weeks”.
It said a decision to retain or fire Stevanovic as Ghana's coach will be made in a fortnight following a crunch meeting on Wednesday with the FA's Executive Committee where the Serbian trainer put up a staunch defence of his stewardship.
Several calls have been made by the public to fire the coach after Ghana ended the AFCON 2012 in fourth position. However, the GFA's Executive Committee says it needs more time to consult other stakeholders before a conclusive decision is made on the future of the coach.
The newspapers also had space for the decision of striker Asamoah Gyan to quit the Black Stars with the headline of the Daily Guide readimg "Asamoah Gyan hints at quick Ghana return".
The story said Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has hinted that he will make a quick return to the Black Stars just days after announcing his decision to take an indefinite break from international football.
He reiterated his commitment to the Black Stars, stating that he will continue to serve his country.
Gyan apologised for missing a penalty at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and said his break would give him the time to recover from the shock.
“Inferno at Suame”, was the headline of the Times on the fire at the spare parts market in Kumasi.
It said six metal shops and seven wooden structures containing vehicle parts, engine oil and other combustible items were destroyed in the fire which swept through the Suame Magazine on Wednesday night.
The fire, which started from one of the shops, quickly spread and engulfed a nearby gas station, which eventually exploded.
The Times said though personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service were at hand to put out the fire it took close to two hours to control it.
The Graphic’s version had the headline “Fire at Suame Magazine” with the story saying a blazing fire swept through a section of the Suame Magazine in Kumasi last Wednesday night, destroying six containers full of spare parts.
The goods, worth several thousands of Ghana cedis, belonged to a number of spare parts dealers at Zone 10 of the market.
“The destruction of the six containers created much trauma for their owners, who were seen weeping uncontrollably when they rushed to the scene to witness their life-time investment burnt to ashes,” the Graphic reported.
It added that the early response by the Ghana National Fire Service prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the Suame Magazine to cause more damage to life and property.
The saga of the 51.28 million Ghana cedis judgement debt paid to businessman Alfred Woyome, who claimed the previous government illegally abrogated a contract for the construction of sports stadiums for the 2008 African Cup of Nations, continued to find space on the front pages.
During the week, the police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) arrested one member of immediate past government and interrogated another over the abrogation and award of contracts for CAN 2008 which triggered the payment of the judgement debt.
The Times had the headline “Police quiz Osafo-Maafo” saying the CID on Tuesday interrogated the former minister of Education, Science and Sports, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo in connection with the 51.2 million cedis judgement debt payment to Alfred Agebesi Woyome.
It said for over three hours, Mr. Osafo-Maafo faced a panel of investigators in Accra who wanted to know his role in the Woyome saga.
The Graphic’s story had the headline “CID grills Osafo-Maafo” with the story saying the CID on Tuesday subjected a former Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Mr. Osafo-Maafo to a two-hour interrogation on his alleged role in the 51.28 million Ghana cedis judgement debt saga.
He was alleged to have cancelled processes on the construction of new stadia for CAN 2008 during his tenure as Minister of Education and Sports.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who was allowed to go home after interrogation, also gave a detailed account of what he knew about an alleged contract between the government of Ghana and Waterville, a construction company.
Police also interrogated former Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, on Friday evening. The Graphic reported on Saturday that "CID quizzes Mould-Iddrisu" with the story saying a former Attorney-General, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, was on Friday subjected a three-hour interrogation by the CID.
Her lawyer, Nana Ato Dazdzie, told journalists after he and his client had emerged from the Conference Room at the CID Headquarters at 8pm (2000 GMT) that his client had not been charged for any offence.
Earlier in the week, the Graphic had the headline “OB Amoah charged with corruption, causing financial loss” with the story saying Mr O.B. Amoah, former Deputy Sports Minister, who was arrested Sunday night in connection with the Woyome saga, has been granted bail in the sum of GHC20 million with two sureties.
Mr. Amoah, who is also opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Nsawam, is charged with two counts of corruption and wilfully causing financial loss to the state.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide’s headline read “OB Amoah arrested over Woyome” with the story saying Osei Bonsu Amoah, former deputy Minister for Education, Science and Sports under the Kufuor regime, was arrested on Sunday.
“Sources said Mr. Amoah was standing in front of his house with his wife when gun-wielding policemen arrived, ordering him to follow them to a police station.”
It said NPP members trooped to the CID headquarters to show solidarity with him.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 25Feb2012