Friday, January 16, 2009


THE Yoruba Community in Kumasi has urged President J.E.A. Mills, to do everything possible to strengthen the bond of relationship between Ghana and Nigeria.
In a congratulatory message to Prof. Mills on his election and successful inauguration as President, the group said the two countries had a lot in common and stood a better chance of improving the conditions of their people, if other areas of co-operation were adopted.
Alhaji Ahmed Amin Olugbon Oba (Chief) of the Yoruba Community, on behalf of the Council of Elders and the entire membership of the community, made the commendation at a meeting in Kumasi.
He expressed the hope that President Mills would live up to his promise of not engaging in political vendetta.
Alhaji Olugbon was confident that Prof. Mills would be a true father of the nation.
Mr Abdul Fatayi Adewuyi, secretary to the Yoruba Community, said they expected that President Mills would work to improve the economy and ensure peace, unity, stability and development.
Members of the Council of Elders of the community included, Alhaji Hassan Kankatu, Alhaji Salifu Sanni, Alhaji Ibrahim Sanni, Alhaji Mustapha Dauda, Alhaji Hamza Ibadan, Alhaji Awudu Iddris (Pokifan Enterprise), Alhaji Mustapha Morofolu, Issaka Salami and Latif Lawal.
All of them took the opportunity to assure the new government of a healthy coexistence between the two countries and foster unity among Africans in general.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


THE management of Kumasi Asante Kotoko is not ready to capitulate to pressure by their supporters to replace Belgian coach Maurice Cooreman with former trainer Bashir Hayford.
“We are not going to change the coach. It is too early to say this coach is not good, and I think we have to give him the chance to perform”, Kwame Baah-Nuako, Communications Director of the club, told the Graphic Sports on phone yesterday.
With Kotoko's title defence under serious threat as a result of dwindling performance in the six-week-old Glo Premier League, the impatient supporters of the club are putting pressure on the management to act with dispatch on the coach whom they have accused of incompetence before the team is plunged into more difficulties.
What finally pushed the supporters to cry out against the coach was the team's unimpressive home outing against newly-promoted side, Bechem Chelsea, which saw the Porcupine Warriors struggling to earn a 1-1 draw, courtesy an 88th minute penalty equalizer.
They hurled insults on the coach, calling for his dismissal, but management is playing down any such decision on the coach whose contract is just some three months old, insisting that they have absolute confidence in him.
Kotoko have gained only a point out of the maximum six in the last two league matches and do not appear the fearsome side that kept the league on fire last season.
In spite of the huge purchases made this season the team appears to be struggling in the league, and their supporters put the blame squarely on the Belgian trainer who was signed from Nigerian side, Enyimba.
What has kept the temperature of the supporters boiling is the outcome of the last two matches which saw them performing abysmally against newly-promoted sides, St Mirrien and Bechem Chelsea.
At their Baba Yara Stadium fortress last Sunday, Kotoko struggled to draw with Chelsea, courtesy an 88th minute penalty equalizing goal by Francis Coffie, and the supporters went wild.
They hurled insults on the coach for poor selection and tactics and believed that management needed to act swiftly to bring back former coach Hayford.
Cooreman is on a two-year deal with Kotoko. His task is to qualify the team to at least the group stage of this year's CAF Champions League, as well as ensure that the team retains the league title.
But his competence to deliver on the set targets has come under attack by the Kotoko fans.
It took the intervention of the security personnel to prevent what could have been another nasty scene by Kotoko supporters.
But Baah-Nuako says the problem could not be put squarely at the doorstep of the coach if his explanation of the development was anything to come by.The communications director quoted the coach as explaining that his frustration emanated from two options.
According to Baah-Nuako, coach Cooreman insisted that either his assistant, Johnson Smith was not getting his (Cooreman's) message through to the players properly, or the players were simply not playing to instructions.
"Management met with the coach after last Sunday's match and he told us his frustrations and I think we have to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"Until such a time that his message goes through to the players properly, the likelihood is that the team may come across some problems", Baah-Nuako said.
He also insisted that the team was undergoing some form of rebuilding, looking at the new players that were being introduced into the team.
While appreciating the concerns of the supporters, he prayed that the supporters would have patience with the coach.
By the 10th minute in last Sunday’s game, Chelsea were in control of the midfield and it became clear that Kotoko were going to face a tough match, and the supporters saw the coach as doing little to salvage the woes of their idol club.
Cooreman, who inherited a squad built by his predecessor, Bashir Hayford, had to be whisked away from the stadium last Sunday under tight security as the supporters charged and rained insults on him for the team’s inability to win the day.
Coach Hayford, whose contract was to expire this January, had hoped that his mandate would have been renewed after he had been able to win the league but decided to call it quits when he realized that dream had been dashed.
In 2003, the then head coach of Kotoko, Abdul Razak, won the league as head coach and the expectations were that he was going to be retained, but for reasons best known to management he was replaced.
In signing Cooreman on, the Kotoko management indicated that they were aware of the abilities of the coach and had tasked him to bring laurels to the team,with his first task being to build a formidable squad for the league.
Before Sunday’s match Kotoko were still struggling to come to terms with the shock 1-2 defeat at the hands of bottom club, Sporting Mirren, in Accra.
The supporters, therefore, had greatly hoped for Kotoko to use the Chelsea match to redeem their image since the team appeared to be the best in the league with their off-season acquisitions in the persons of Alex Asamoah, Fred Quayson, Agyemang Badu and Samuel Nzemaba, among others.


PERHAPS, the biggest challenge the NDC government would face in Kumasi, a city described by some people as the epicentre of Ghana politics, is how to get hawkers and other traders off the streets.
It has always been very difficult dealing with this group of people and it will be interesting to see whether the situation will change.
Kumasi is a horrible city today. In fact, the scenario in the heart of the city does not speak anything good about Ghana's second largest city and will demand extra courage from the authorities to put things right.
All the pavements have been taken over by traders. The road in front of the Despite Building at Adum like others, is full of trading activities and drivers who use that road have had terrible times driving through the human traffic.
One may argue that it is the metropolitan assembly and not the government that is responsible for undertaking an exercise of such nature.
Sight must, however, not be lost of the fact that an exercise of that magnitude could only be taken with the full blessing of the metropolitan chief executive who is the political head of the metropolis.
Late 2007, the KMA under Ms Patricia Appiagyei embarked on a gargantuan decongestive exercise, which even the owner of the land, His Royal Highness Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, gave his full blessing to, believing that Kumasi deserved what was best.
It cost hundreds of thousands of Ghana cedis in taxpayers' money to execute this exercise.
Under the exercise, unauthorised structures along some of the road were pulled down. Some slums were affected.
But what drew a lot of difficulties for the assembly was the withdrawal of the traders and hawkers from the roads and pavements especially in the central business district.
There was fierce resistance from the victims but at the end of the day they were cleared, thanks to the combined efforts of the military and police.
Once the city centre was cleared, vehicular movement improved, but quite strangely the traders started returning few months later.
That was when campaigning for the 2008 elections started. It became difficult for the KMA chief executive to act apparently because of the elections and finally capitulated under the threat, "We shall not vote if you remove us."
From that time the situation worsened. The irony of the situation was that in the run up to the presidential run-off, the Metropolitan Chief Executive and other government officials apologised to the victims of the decongestive exercise, and further pleaded with them to vote for Nana Akufo-Addo on December 28.
Surprisingly again, city guards and the police were asked to get out of the city centre, aggravating the already chaotic situation.
Opponents of the NPP saw the behaviour of Ms Appiagyei and the government officials as defeatists and used it as a campaign tool against them.
Before this failed exercise, Kumasi had witnessed other similar exercises. The one still fresh in our minds was undertaken during the first NDC administration, which had Nana Akwasi Agyemang as the Metropolitan Chief Executive.
Shrewd as he was, Nana Agyemang damned the consequences and put things in their proper place but eventually the exercise failed. That is Kumasi for you.
From all indications, the next KMA chief executive will have an arduous task dealing with the problem.
It will demand a tough leader to get the assembly to act on this, and whoever will be appointed for that hot position should act swiftly.
Kumasi is indeed going through terrible times and unless the problem is tackled, the image of the city would continue to dwindle.
In moving to decongest the city, efforts should be made to relocate the traders in areas that will keep their businesses in operation.
Ms Appiagyei attempted to relocate them but it did not work. The traders complained that trading activities in areas where the KMA wanted to send them was virtually non existent and that they would not risk relocating to those areas.
With this in mind, the KMA should be able to develop the race course into a useful trading centre so that some of the traders could be relocated there.
This writer would also want to see the redevelopment of the Kumasi Central market to befit the status of Kumasi.
The redevelopment of the market into modern one has been on the drawing board for too long and action must be taken by the current government to make things much better.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

WHERE IS KUFFUOR HEADING?... As contract with Kotoko runs out next week (GRAPHIC SPORTS, LEAD STORY, JAN 9)

Kumasi Asante Kotoko ace striker, Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, says he will not rush into renewing his contract when it runs out next week.
Despite overtures made by the Kotoko management to re-negotiate the contract, the veteran player, nicknamed ‘General’ because of his leadership qualities, insists he would wait a while “to see things clear”.
Kuffour, who has been missing in action lately, told the Graphic Sports yesterday that in football a player had to take a lot of things into consideration before taking major decisions.
"I love Asante Kotoko and I must say that I have enjoyed my days with the club. But I can't stand up and say I am going to sign a contract without seeing my way clear, he said
"I am weighing the option of renewing the contract and joining a foreign side," explained the striker who joined the Porcupine Warriors in 2006.
Media reports in the latter part of the last football season linked him to a club in North Africa but that move did not materialise.
Asked whether any foreign club had expressed interest in him, the offensive midfielder was not ready to give a definite answer.
"I'm not in a position to say this club or that club out there has expressed interest in me, but at the moment I want to complete my contract with Kotoko before you will hear from me," Osei Kuffour said.
Kuffour had not seen playing time with the club this season but explained that he had been training with the club under the tutelage of Maurice Cooreman
He was instrumental in the club's impressive performance in both the local league and the continental championship last season.
However, his absence on the field had led many to question whether he had fallen out of favour with the club.
But the experienced player indicated that he related well with everybody in the club.
"I am doing serious training to keep me in shape. Football is my business and I have to be serious with it,” he said.


OPERATION Save the Suffering Masses (OSSM), a human rights organisation in Kumasi, has congratulated Prof. J.E.A. Mills on his victory in the presidential elections.
It said the victory of Prof. Mills had demonstrated the confidence Ghanaians had in him to lead the nation into a brighter future.
A congratulatory message signed by the spokesman of the association, Nana Kwasi Kwarteng, said every Ghanaian knew Prof. Mills to be a man of peace, and expressed the hope that this would manifest in his administration.
The statement said the government of Prof. Mills should check human rights abuses in all forms.
It pointed out that Ghanaians needed peace to go about their duties without fear.
"We hope your administration will bring back the lost smiles on the faces of Ghanaians. May God guide you in your confrontation to the challenges ahead," the statement added.


A LATE Eric Agyemang strike secured the maximum points for Kumasi King Faisal at the expense of Berekum Arsenal in their Glo Premier League match at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi yesterday.
Faisal, who have not enjoyed a smooth run in the league this season, needed the points badly but had to wait until the 79th minute before Agyemang fetched that superb goal.
Operating wide on the right, Agyemang raced onto a pass from the middle and strode into the box to beat excellent keeper Abdul Razak Bobson.
The handful of fans who turned up to watch the game had little to cheer about as the combatants could hardly click.
Faisal's juvenile star, Ebo Andoh, from whom much was expected, persistently attempted to cut a path through the Arsenal area but he was thwarted by the defence line where Philip Boampong was a pillar.
Even though he conceded a goal, Keeper Bobson was in great shape, denying Ibrahim Basit, Abedi Sarfo and Abdul Samad Oppong a goal on countless occasions.
Abedi Sarfo should have scored the second goal in the 89th minute but he headed off target from just six yards unchallenged.
Faisal keeper, Samuel Okyere, also produced a piece of brilliance two minutes into injury time by pushing a powerful header from Prince Gyimah to corner.