Further Dark Tales from Kumasi

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 1, 2017 12:17

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Further Dark Tales from Kumasi

By Satish Sekar in Kumasi © Satish Sekar (September 28th 2017)

For Keeps

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Twelve years after Abukari Gariba’s goals propelled Asante Kotoko to Africa’s summit the controversial keeper Joseph Carr was part of the second African Cup winning Kotoko team. By 1982 Carr was a controversial inclusion in Ghana’s last Cup of Nations winning squad. Four years earlier Ghana won the trophy outright – the first nation to win it thrice. Carr was undoubtedly the best keeper in Ghana at the time, and one of the best in Africa.

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Fuseini was undoubtedly a talented keeper too, and is one of the few 1978 AFCON winners left. He was the back-up keeper to Carr – at the time there was no disgrace in that. 1978 was special. Ghana hosted. The late Fred Osam-Duodu was the coach. It was the last time Ghana hosted and won. It also was the third time the Black Stars had won the Cup of Nations, and being the first to achieve that, they kept the trophy.

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The Nations Cup-winning squad were heroes and were promised houses in recognition of their feat by the ‘President’ Ignatius ‘Kutu’ Acheampong, who had come to power in a military coup a few years earlier. Acheampong had invested in football, but he was one of the few world leaders not to reap the benefits of triumph on the football pitch.

The Unseen Costs

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Before he could savour his triumph Acheampong was overthrown in a military coup – he was one of those executed after the second coup led by Jerry Rawlings four years later. And with the fall of Acheampong, the promises made to the Cup of Nations heroes were quietly forgotten. Far from basking in the glory of their accomplishments these players got next to nothing. Some fared better than others. Few fared as badly as Fuseini.

Last year all AFCON winners were given $5000 by the Ghanaian government. It was already too late for Fuseini. By then he had suffered a stroke. He lives in dingy conditions, needing assistance to walk, and having great difficulty making himself understood – the stroke has robbed him not only of mobility, but affected his speech too.

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His wife and daughter look after him – that affects their ability to earn, and there is no respite care for them. Denied the medication and care he needs the outlook is bleak for Fuseini, and shamefully, this national hero, Cup of Nations winning icon, never got to enjoy a penny of his ‘bonus’. Every last cent was spent on his care needs – nothing for himself or his family. Is that any way to treat a football hero?

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 1, 2017 12:17