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African Cup Of Nations

Let’s Give Ohene Djan Credit He Deserves

A recent conversation with an old classmate brought up a topic who takes credit for a good work done by a government appointee for example. Does the credit go to the appointee or the one who spotted his talent and gave him the assignment?

This topic was raised following my rather superfluous adoration for Ohene Djan the nation’s first Director of Sports during the administration of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah usually referred to as the First Republic. Those were the days when Ghana sports was tops in many sports disciplines worldwide. You can mention football, athletics; boxing both professional and amateur, tennis, table tennis, hockey etc and our presence was always felt at international meetings.

As early as 1960 Ghana, won boxing silver at the Olympic Games in Rome courtesy, Ike Bazooka’s uncle, Ike Quartey.

In 1962 at the Perth Commonwealth Games, Ghana was adjudged the best Commonwealth Boxing nation with a record six boxers in the ten division finals. We eventually got two gold and four silver.

Mike Ahey won long jump gold and teamed up with Bukari Bashiru, M. K. Mends and M.F. Okantey to win the sprints quartet.

In 1963, the Black Stars won Afcon at home and in 1964 Ghana staged her first world featherweight boxing title fight between Local idol Floyd Robertson and Sugar Ramos, the Cuban born Mexican at Accra Stadium. Sad to say however that Floyd was robbed of victory by the imported foreign officials.

In 1965, the Black Stars retained the Afcon title with an away win in Tunis.

In all this, Ohene Djan was firmly in charge of affairs and indeed was given such wide powers by President Nkrumah that he was in absolute control of all sports programmes in the country. He exercised the powers well to achieve results and it is the reason why I am campaigning for his name to be immortalised.

Apart from being Director of Sports, Ohene Djan was executive secretary of the Football Association. He was aware of the FIFA statue that said football must be managed to the exclusion of all others so he was right in the thick of events.

He said participation in the national football league is a privilege not a right so he forcefully formed a model club called Republikans by selecting two best players from the existing clubs to eventually take part in the league.

The formation of Republikans and its aftermath is a whole story by itself that I will narrate in the future.

Maybe I have to end here for the mean time and continue next week with how he used his power that some may say capricious my but I feel on the balance, he deserves national recognition like the man who gave him the appointment.

Cheers everybody and keeping loving sports.

Credit: Ken Bediako

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