Interview Notes with President of the GFA
Gyan not capable of winning the World Cup? It's just a psychological buildup, because they all play Europe, they areexposed to the same facilities, and they are all rated almost equally; so it is a psychological buildup that has to bedone, to let them realize that we are also capable of winning the World Cup, and I think that's a belief, it's nowdawning on the players; before we went to the World Cup, that confidence was not there. But they went and theyrealized that the World Cup stage was no different from when they played Europe. And I believe in 2010, the...tables, the tables will be even, and Ghana, and for that matter Africa, will have an equal chance of winning theWorld Cup.
DH:Does your mind – as a football official - have to change as well?
KN:Yes, yes. It's just not the players, but all of us, all of us, and we have to work towards that. And I believe thatif you associate with mediocrity, and just consign yourself to the lower leagues, and think that you have someinferiority complex you remain so. You must assess yourself, and reassure yourself that you are among the best andso you have to work towards attaining the best. And I think that will influence all our decisions. It will influence our relations with players, it will influence our bonus and reward system for the players, it will influence our relationship with the coaches, and the staff; and it will also influence team organization, even the kind of matchesthat we need to play. We will no longer be calling, or admitting friendly matches with countries like - excuse me tosay - Benin, or Cape Verde. We'll be going for the best.Before the World Cup, it will appear a remote possibility that Ghana will play Brazil in a friendly match. But nowwe are going to rub shoulders with them. We thinking about playing with France, Germany, England, big soccer nations, you know? In the past, we will be thinking about mediocre teams.
DH:Ghana journalists told me that there were prostitutes in the Ghana players rooms the night before the Brazil match?
KN:No, I don't think so; because I saw the white ladies outside the premises of our hotel, on the eve of our match with Brazil; but nothing suggested to me that they were prostitutes. It was just two or so players who stoodwith them, and chatted. And I asked them why they were standing there, I told them to go back to their rooms, because it was not proper to be loitering around at that time, when you had a big game, you know?
DH:This is 2:00 in the morning?
KN:Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah; but I didn't see any of them follow any player to his room, and I don'teven know whether they were prostitutes. Doesn't mean that if I meet a woman at two A.M. she's a prostitute, Imean, that is a hasty conclusion to reach. But, it was all over Ghana, and it was just a rumour.
DH:There were, then two meetings about salary and bonuses? One before the Italy game and one beforethe Brazil game, is that correct?
KN:Yeah, yeah. We had a meeting uh... where were we, Scotland, we played I think Glasgow, or Edinburgh, we played a match there with South Korea, we had a meeting with them; then we had another meeting inWurzburg. Yeah, it's two.
DH:How would you characterize those meetings? Were there arguments, fights in meetings, or just negotiations?
KN:They were negotiations. It was give and take. They were making demands, and we were rebuffing thedemands, and also explaining why we couldn't meet their demands; but in the end we reached a middle way, and thetwo parties were satisfied. And the negotiations involved all the players, not just the leadership, everybody wasthere. The captain, who usually not meet management and go and report, he said that in the past he had been accusedof not really articulating their interests, so he wants everybody to be there. If you have views you have to express,you express it there. Sometimes, these negotiations, you just have to be patient. They may say things that will provoke you, but you just have to be patient, you know?
DH:How will you deal with that differently in the future?