Desailly lauds Nyantakyi’s competency—Nonsense!

By—Bernard Asubonteng

Some media accounts in Ghana have it that Mr. Marcel Desailly, the Ghanaian-born 1998 French World Cup winning footballer, was quoted fawningly heaping praise on Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi’s competence as the president of Ghana Football Association (GFA). The Frenchman, based on the media reports, did not only stop there praising the GFA leader’s managerial skills, but he went on as far as premising his “competence nonsense” on Mr. Nyantakyi’s “cleverness” for firing Akwasi Appiah as the Black Stars’ head coach. Really? Is that what Mr. Desailly of all former world-class soccer players view as competence?
In the Ghana TV-3 interview and quoted by the, Mr. Desailly said “Our President of the federation Kwesi Nyantakyi is very competent and clever, he made a good decision in the sacking of the coach [Appiah].” First, has Mr. Desailly denounced his French citizenship or is he a dual citizen of France and Ghana to claim the GFA and its head as “our president of the federation”? True, Mr. Desailly was born in Ghana to Ghanaian parents, but he chose to become French citizen and played for that country. Legally, unless he is no longer a French citizen or has dual nationality, he cannot talk as if he is a Ghanaian irrespective of the sport complexes he has built in Ghana to help develop soccer and in the process promote his own image, too. Sensitive issues on the national level in any civilized country are usually reserved for the citizens of that nation.
Second, and more importantly, aside from its cynical and buck-passing undertones, there is nothing competent about Nyantakyi-led GFA’s management and firing of the Ghanaian coach. Sure, GFA employs the head coach of the national team and it has every right to dispense the services of the coach whenever it deems necessary. However, in this particular situation, it does not make Mr. Nyantakyi a competent GFA president. Here is the real deal: besides its below average management at the local level, GFA created a huge mess before and during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and cynically turned around to try to shift the blame on someone else for not cleaning up the mess fast enough.
If someone doesn’t clean your dirt as quickly as you want him/her to, and you blame the person for being too slow, how on earth does that pass for competence? Indeed, the Frenchman—Mr. Desailly—is entitled to his personal or “expert views” but he is not entitled to raw facts. Looking at it from broad perspective, Mr. Desailly may be sharing many soccer fans’ worldview regarding competence; especially, considering how a lot of Ghanaians normally ignore the subtext or the context of unfolding events before making informed decision. In other words, many Ghanaians based their conclusion on sound bites, including how articulate and good English a leader can speak in public about issues regardless of lack of managerial acumen and moral compunction.
Again as quoted from the, here is Mr. Desailly: “I support the decision taken by the President of the FA. They have gathered all the elements in making that decision. Kwesi Nyantakyi has collected all the information in making that decision…He (Kwesi Appiah) made internal mistakes that did not suit them on the way of managing the players that is why he was sacked.” If I’m not mistaken, where did a non-Ghanaian citizen such as Mr. Desailly get all these seemingly national sensitive soccer information from? Was he at the meeting when Mr. Nyantakyi and his hosanna boys at GFA “gathered all the elements in making that decision” leading to Mr. Appiah’s dismissal? What did the Frenchman exactly mean by “internal mistakes that did not suit them [GFA] on the way of managing the players”? How did Mr. Desailly get to know what was happening internally in the Black Stars’ camp? Could it be that he has some “moles” within the GFA and the Black Stars’ camp passing information to him?
Admittedly, given a choice between Mr. Desailly and any of the current applicants of the Black Stars’ coaching job, no doubt the Frenchman will be my number one choice. Personally, I like him for giving some of his fortune and soccer knowledge back to the people of Ghana; nonetheless, this does not mean he can get away with making hyperbolic claims about Mr. Nyantakyi and the GFA’s competence. Many of us understand that Mr. Desailly has an ambition of becoming the head coach of the Black Stars in the not-too-distant future. Perhaps his motivation is to land in the good side of the current GFA chairman, so if he decides to apply for the head coach job later on, the GFA may remember his previous kind words.
Let someone reminds the Frenchman that GFA does not belong to Mr. Nyantakyi or the GFA members only. Moreover, he doesn’t need to say anything just to impress the soccer body. Besides, the GFA presidency or membership is not for life. Making general claims about GFA’s leadership competence based on one event is outrageous and nonsensical. Does Mr. Desailly really understand what constitutes soccer federation competence? Please, take a look at the outmoded and tedious manner by which GFA is going about to appoint a new coach for the Black Stars. Is that a mark of competence to you, too?

Bernard Asubonteng is a writer and media analyst based in Atlanta, GA. He can be reached at: or visit his blog at:

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