By Lamin Cham
While it is very much heart soothing to see that at long last Wafu, which comprises the super power nations in African football, but has been the most disorganized regional football body on the continent, has finally woken from a long slumber to organize something decent. In the current nations Cup in Ghana, it is vital to note that they have got many aspects of the tournament wrong.
I am not in any way trying to join the GFF in their condemnation of the poor referring decision in the Gambia- Ghana opening match, neither do I subscribe to their premature or over-played threat to withdraw from the union, but I strongly feel that Wafu’s format of the tourney makes it impossible to avoid bitter experiences and or politics affecting the party. In the first place, where you have 16 teams, a fantastic opportunity to split the Union into four groups of four each, why has Wafu chosen to arrange the first part of the tourney a straight knock- out which inevitably means that eight teams will have to pack up even before they have time enough to settle in their rooms? If Wafu is trying to save costs by avoiding to keep the entire 16 teams in Ghana for weeks, then why didn’t they opt for a two-legged preliminary qualifiers whereby the 16 teams will be split into eight pairs with each pair playing a home and an away tie for a ticket to the final eight spots in the tournament proper?
In that case teams that have failed to qualify will not travel to the tournament at all.
That is by far the most sensible thing to do instead of calling everybody only for half of the party to return hot foot. It is not surprising that such an arrangement can only lead to politics and manipulation by officials, example to ensure that the host team and or some big teams with great TV potentials stay long in the party. That may well have been the case in the Gambia-Ghana match. And what is more, why did countries which has direct flights to Ghana such as the Gambia will have to transit to Dakar and or other places before getting to Ghana? Or is that whoever was handling the travel arrangements at Wafu, or was it Fox, has a favourite airline or had no time to do a thorough research?