Ex-president Jerry John Rawlings has noted that Ghana’s socio-political situation will change for the better when we ensure that the trappings of fame and power do not corrupt us.
He said we would not be rescued by power play but by humility.
Flt Lt Rawlings said while footballers and other sportsmen cannot profit from poor performance because they ply their trade in the full glare of spectators we are trapped in a corridor where people are profiting from negativity and doing wrong in other spheres, which do not come under open public scrutiny.
The former President said aside Kwame Nkrumah and a host of other intellectuals who have blazed the trail for Ghana on the continent and elsewhere, “I think you in the sporting field are the ones who have done the most also.”
Stephen Appiah received warm praise from the former President when he visited him at his residence. Rawlings said Appiah has maintained utmost humility throughout his career.
“You have enjoyed fame and fortune yet you have maintained your humility. This is one quality that we seem to be lacking as a people and we can only hope and wish people will take a cue from personalities like you.”
Appiah called on Rawlings with some of his colleagues in the Professional Footballers Association to invite him to his testimonial match on June 27.
The former Black Stars captain who led Ghana to its first World Cup in 2006 and to the subsequent one in 2010 relived memories of his previous meetings with President Rawlings, recalling how the then President motivated the Starlets 1995 team to lift the World Cup in Ecuador. He expressed gratitude to the government at the time for rewarding the Starlets with handsome amounts invested in treasury bills.
Rawlings in accepting the invitation said he was privileged and honoured by the invitation.
Former Black Stars player, Anthony Baffoe who is a FIFA Match Coordinator and doubles as the General Secretary of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) of Ghana, highlighted the need for all professionals to be guided by a sense of patriotism.
He commended the former President for always speaking his mind and indicated that the PFA was an umbrella organization aimed at protecting the interests of professional footballers past and present. He said members were being roped into football management and a premium is also being placed on life after football.
Major Jeff Kweifio of the Volta River Authority who was present at the meeting said Appiah had intrinsic footwork during his playing days that endeared him to many. He commended him for bringing unity into the Black Stars at a time when unity was a scarce commodity in the team. He said the unity he brought into the Black Stars still pervades in the squad. Appiah, he indicated, was cast in the mould of Emmanuel Adebayor, Anthony Baffoe and George Weah.
Aide to the former President, Kobina Andoh said it was fitting that Appiah was being given a sendoff with a Testimonial Match.
“Ghana has not embraced the culture of testimonial matches and Appiah is a great name to start that tradition,” he said and called on the former Stars captain to continue to impart his positive qualities to the younger generation.
Also present at the meeting were Augustine Arhinful and Laryea Kingston, both former national players.