Former Youth and Sports Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye has said those blaming him for being the cause of Ghana’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia are “little minds”.
Director of Communications of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Ibrahim Sannie Darra had told Class91.3FM’s Kwame Dwomoh-Agyemang that Mr Vanderpuye caused the failure of the Black Stars.
According to him, when the World Cup qualifiers started, the then-minister took decisions that affected the morale and psyche of the entire playing body, a situation he believes contributed largely to the team’s poor performance in the qualifiers.
Darra said Mr Vanderpuye, for instance, slashed the winning bonus of the team from $10,000 to $8,000 and chided the players to be patriotic.
Aside from that, Mr Vanderpuye, Darra continued, denied all management members of the team complimentary tickets during matches and also cancelled indemnity and unclassified payments.
Speaking on Accra based Class FM, Sannie Darra said that: “Nii Lante Vanderpuye poisoned the atmosphere and insisted that the players and the management don’t deserve their winning bonus as if they are thieves. He consistently attacked anybody who was connected to the team to the extent that he said his son could coach the national team and the media couldn’t question him because they were happy of his attack on the FA.”
“We are now paying the price of all these things done against the country in the hatred of one person, Kwesi Nyantakyi,” Sannie Darra said, adding: “He didn’t want to see the eyes of Nyantakyi. How can you plan a World Cup qualifier without the involvement of the FA president? Not only that but he chose to sideline him at the time where he was occupying one of the most powerful positions in world football. He sidelined the whole management of the team and went directly to negotiate with the players.
“In my opinion, Nii Lante Vanderpuye was never fit to be the Youth and Sports minister. If we are to juxtapose what he has done … to other ministers who have helped us qualify to the World Cup successfully, he will be ranked the lowest because he didn’t act as a sports minister of Ghana but he rather acted as a sports minister in charge of anti-Nyantakyi campaign and in doing that he brought damage to the country and he never cared about it. I don’t hate him but I am only disappointed in him and some of the sports journalists who joined his crusade knowing that this was going to damage us. Imagine that the globe will not see Ghana at the World Cup. This is very sad for a football country like Ghana,” he added.
In his riposte, Mr Vanderpuye told Class Sport’s Desmond Decker that: “People who say those things are little minds because I believe in such situations, you sit down and critically do analysis of the failure instead of making it personal. And I’ve heard so many things but I refrain from commenting on it.
“I will only say that they are not thinking well, those who are saying those things are not thinking well. If they are thinking well, they’ll be able to do critical analysis,” the Odododiodoo MP said.
He continued: “Under my administration, how many matches were played by the Black Stars? What were the results? One point home, one loss. After I left, how many matches have been played? What were the results? So why do you blame, why won’t you blame the current ministry or the current government or the minister? Have the GFA themselves looked at themselves to see whether they were also a contributing factor to our failure to qualify?”