Robbing Ama To Pay Kofi Is Foul Play

In all labour, there is profit, as exemplified by expecting mothers, whose labour through excruciating pain is often rewarded with a precious baby.

That reward is so invaluable that some would give anything for the priceless privilege to bear and hold one in their arms.

However in Ghana, sometimes there is little respect for the labour exerted by the non-privileged in our society.

A few weeks ago, the senior women’s national football team, Black Queens, laboured to bring honour to the nation by winning gold at the just-ended All Africa Games in Brazzaville, claiming the scalp of nemesis, Cameroun, thanks to a hard-won 1-0 scoreline.

Yet their expectations of a grand reception and a fitting reward were dashed by the Minister of Youth & Sports, Dr Mustapha Ahmed, who treated the Queens with contempt, and hauled them over the coals, for demanding their rights.

Holed up at the M-Plaza Hotel for nine days, determined not to be deprived of their due this time, given the deprivation for some over the years, our ‘Golden Girls’ were subjected to intimidation and threatened with starvation, then ejection from the hotel.

Lately, paying national team players their due has become warfare, even after the infamous appearance fees saga at the 2014 FIFA World Cup that dragged the name of Ghana in mud, an eyesore to the civilized world.

I find it unacceptable the fact that the sports minister, his superiors and subordinates do not see the inherent injustice in such actions.

The sports ministry he heads has become a symbol of disorder, lacking the ingenuity to settle arrears of national team players, lacking the diplomacy to negotiate successfully with aggrieved players.

Instead, our minister would use military-style ultimatum and prescribing the ejection of the Queens from their temporary accommodation as a means of solving a problem which had become very embarrassing for the ministry.

It is a heavy-handed, oppressive modus operandi that should have no place in our sports.

Far from logical, it betrays a determination to deny our national team athletes, especially female, their due.

It is scandalous that the Queens have been forced to accept $5,000 each, at the instance of President John Mahama, instead of at least the $12,000 pre-All Africa Games arrears due them, without the guarantee of any further payment.

The fact that the imposed $5,000 for winning the gold medal is only half the Black Stars' winning bonus per match is a travesty of justice.

Even for coming in second at the AFCON 2015, the Black Stars, besides their tournament winning bonuses of $10,000 per match, were each given $25,000 and Jeep Grand Cherokees, estimated at $75,000, amounting to a $100,000 national commendation.

It betrays a stamp of approval for discrimination, a lack of morality and integrity, a disproportionate response to the expectations and aspirations of the Black Queens. Such an action is tantamount to an exploitation of the very heroes a patriotic leadership should be celebrating.

Forcing the Black Queens to accept less than their due is an infraction of justice, a sexist stance to deny them prize-money parity and break their hearts, instead of setting a powerful example of equal commendation for all national athletes, regardless of gender.

Indeed, robbing Ama to pay Kofi is foul play, for, it compromises the welfare of all our female athletes, represented by the Black Queens, robbed of their sugar and made to taste vinegar, by force!