The chips are falling one after the other following Ghana’s disgraceful performance at Africa’s flagship football fiesta, AFCON 2019, currently underway in Egypt.
At the centre of how to fix the jigsaw puzzle on what went wrong before, during and after the botched attempt to annex the trophy is the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which has been caught waist-deep in controversies that are akin to Advanced Fee Fraud (419) scheme.
The ministry in a pure ‘con’ move told Ghanaians that only some 100 supporters were sent to Egypt to cheer the Black Stars, but it is turning out that the figure was way and far above what the ministry churned out.
What has turned out to be egged on the face of the Sports Ministry, under the watch of the talkative Isaac Kwame Asiamah, is the fact majority of the supporters that were clandestinely sent to Egypt are stuck in that country after Ghana shamefully exited the tournament.
The reason for the continuous stay of the supporters in Egypt was clumsy flight arrangements, an indication that those engaged in the airlifting of the supporters did a shoddy job.
The supporters, who are currently stuck in Egypt, are accommodated and fed at the expense of the government.
The traveling arrangements were so poorly done that some of the supporters were going to spend additional weeks in Egypt, even if Ghana had reached the finals of the tournament.
It is instructive to know that the amount of money that was expended on the supporters to Egypt has been shrouded in secrecy, although there are numerous calls on the Sports Ministry to declare how much was involved in sending the supporters to Egypt and who were contracted to do so.
One person who has muddied the waters for Mr. Asiamah and would make the telling of his story more difficult is the public relations officer of the Sports Ministry, Mr. Elvis Adjei Baah.
He has been extremely poor in sharing information with the public, as he was always evasive or inconsistent with his answers on radio and other media outlets.
Mr. Baah in no small way has sent the neck of Mr. Asiamah to the guillotine to be severed.
Although the ministry was fully aware of the Dzamefe Commission Report that was explicit that the government should not spend taxpayers’ money to send supporters to tournaments, it airlifted supporters to Egypt.
Journalists Trip To Egypt
There are murmurings within media circles on how the Sports Ministry spent huge sums of money on journalists it sponsored to Egypt.
Unconfirmed reports have it that more than 50 journalists benefitted from the largesse of the ministry and were flown to Egypt on First Class tickets.
It is widely believed that the ministry undertook that venture to compensate praise-singing media practitioners.
In what has virtually become an albatross on the neck of the Sports Ministry, some of the journalists it sponsored to Egypt started filing harrowing reports on arriving in Egypt and witnessing events that led to the early exit of the Black Stars from the tournament.
The Inquisitor is reliably informed that the ministry is at loggerheads with some of the journalists it sponsored to Egypt as their utterances and positions on issues were nothing but a betrayal.
However, there are other journalists who are busy doing damage control and making things to look as if nothing went wrong before Ghana performed so abysmally at the tournament.
What is intriguing is the fact that the current minister, Mr. Asiamah, cried wolf anytime there were tournaments over expenditure when he was in opposition and was serving as a ranking member of the Sports Committee in Parliament.
While in Egypt, the minister in his insipid desire to impress the numerous supporters airlifted to that country, incurred another expenditure on sight-seeing, although that was not budgeted for before the supporters were flown to Egypt.
It is only under the current minister that Ghana had exited from an AFCON tournament at such an early stage in the last 11 years.