(WFI) FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s bid for re-election has been boosted by the election of Ghanian FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi as interim president of the 16-member West African Football Union (WAFU).
Nyantakyi replaces disgraced former FIFA Ex-Co member Amos Adamu and would seemingly cement Blatter’s position in one of his key electoral strongholds.
Blatter is expected to receive strong support from Africa in the June 1 FIFA presidential election against Mohamed Bin Hammam.
“Your many years of experience in the pyramid of football will undoubtedly be a huge asset and will help you to accomplish this exciting and complex mission,” Blatter said in a congratulatory message.
“I am convinced that you will continue to preserve and defend the values of our game with the same determination as you have done in the past. I wish you strength, health and every success for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Nyantakyi’s elevation in WAFU ranks comes as controversy rages in his home country over his efforts to stand for re-election as Ghana FA president.
Nyantakyi is also standing unopposed for a second term of office, but the election – set to take place on April 28 – has not been without controversy.
Three candidates have been barred from standing against Nyantakyi with one of them, Neil Armstrong Mortagbe, now facing a police investigation for allegedly forging the signatures of five of his nominees.
Another, Foresight Alhassan, was precluded because the 10 clubs that nominated him “were not competent to do so” according to the Ghana FA.
A third rival, Vincent Sowah Odotei, was barred after the Ghana FA received a letter from his nominee’s regional association ”disassociating” itself with him.
Ghanaian media report Mortagbe and Odotei threatening legal action against the decisions to exclude them, with questions raised about the neutrality of the electoral commission.
Ghana’s greatest player, Abedi Pele, said that Ghanaian football under Nyantakyi’s watch had deteriorated into a “shambles.”
“You judge [performance] by what someone has achieved locally and not what the foreign based players of the Black Stars achieved in the 2010 World Cup,” Abedi Pele was quoted by local media when asked about Nyantakyi’s performance.
“We look at organization, efficiency and hard work at all levels. All these things in the local terrain have been poor and for me that’s the way I judge, and that’s what I see.
“Just look at the performance of Ghana at the just ended African Nations Championship [CHAN]. That gives a clear indication that our football is in shambles and very gloomy in the future.
“But if Ghanaians are happy with Kwesi Nyantakyi’s performance, so be it.”
Nyantakyi hit back at criticism of his presidency in an interview with the Ghanaian TV channel Joy Sports this week. He suggested that football administration was a selfless, thankless task and that those who ran the game were the ones who were “cheated” by the associations they represented.
“The perception about football administration is not a Ghanaian phenomenon. It’s a worldwide phenomenon – it’s the perception of corruption,” said Nyantakyi.
“I am not corrupt! For me, corruption is a situation of somebody using his position to make a personal gain.
“Apart from what is legally due me, I don’t see any other gain I make. I rather spend my time and I am not paid for the value of the time.
“So to that extent, the football association is cheating us.”
By INSIDER’s James Corbett
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