GFA Visa Boom: How Non-Footballers Were Packed Into National Team For Trips
Valued above any valuable, securing a visa to vamoose from Ghana’s vicious vortex and venom of financial vapoury is vaunted as no mean victory.
And it is the high value placed on that invaluable piece of stamp that has turned a messenger into a messiah to many a desperate man seeking to migrate to any land – from Malta and Maldives, through Mauritius and Malaysia to Monaco.
“These days your people they have forgotten us, as they (are) enjoying quality services after that they don’t pay me”. These are the words of Amidu expressing his frustration about the people he has helped travel abroad but have forgotten him after they arrive (d) oversea(s).
A Ghana Football Association (GFA) official was secretly filmed accepting a cash amount of one thousand cedis (GHS1000) to include non-footballing personnel in national football team trips outside Ghana using his office as a messenger. This took place at the Accra Sports Stadium’s restaurant on the 15th of March 2018.
Amidu is a messenger at the Ghana Football Association (GFA). He serves a self-styled travel agent at the GFA through him people travel abroad. By his own account, he has helped an uncountable number of people emigrate out of Ghana. Amidu told Tiger he would help him get to Serbia, an Eastern European country. For his service, he is charging Tiger thousand cedes (1000) for the start to hasten up the Visa processes afterwards an amount would be given for Tiger to pay as the full payment which Tiger paid.
Tiger team member spoke to Amidu on phone and explained to him that, his friend wants to travel abroad, precisely Serbia. They later agreed to meet at the Accra sports stadium for further discussions with Tiger himself. They met at a restaurant in Accra sports stadium, Tiger team member introduced Amidu to Tiger and he further explained to Amidu that he wants to travel to Serbia.
“Boss this one, my friend and I want to travel so I was telling him that we want someone to help us” Tiger Said. “You don’t have (a) problem” Amidu replied.
“So I wanted to ask you how much does one has to prepare before the Visa is acquired?” Tiger said. “Thousand for the start (1000 cedes)” Amidu replied. “So like how much would I pay when is done?” Tiger said. “We do the interview faster then I will let you come back again and tell you ‘the this thing’ [about the rest of the money]”. “Serbia is a good place one will get small money,” Tiger said. “Yeah” Amidu replied.
These were some of the conversations Tiger had with Amidu. In the long run, Amidu assured Tiger in getting the Visa as soon as possible.
Visa Racket Scandals
Sports tournament has become the new avenue whereby economic migrants from Ghana use to seeking greener pastures. They go for a tournament and then they abscond from official hotels and sports villages. A case in point was at the 2014 world cup tournament in Brazil that witnesses the disappearance two hundred (200) Ghanaians but later seeks or requested for asylum.
The Brazilian federal police said this to BBC, 11th July 2014. However, Ghana’s former Sports Minister, Mahama Ayariga told the BBC he doubted that those who have requested asylum were believed to be part of the official group of 650 fans sent to Brazil to support the national team.
Because of the many incidences of sports fans and athletes not returning to Ghana after international tournaments, it has made visa acquisition for genuine fans and athletes very difficult.
In March 2017, it was reported that the Intellectually Disabled athletes of Ghana were denied visas to Austria. After hard training and workout for almost three months, agitatedly preparing for the March 14-25 Games, their hopes of participating in the Floorball competition of the Games were surge after the Dutch Embassy, which represents the Austrian government in Ghana, denied them entry visas on the grounds that the athletes would not return to Ghana after the competition.
Another case in point was when in July 2014, many football fans from Ghana were denied visas to cheer on the women’s team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. Graphic Sports reported, “The Canadian High Commission was alarmed over the reported case of some Ghanaian fans who traveled to Brazil to watch the just-ended FIFA World Cup but later applied to seek asylum in Brazil after the tournament.”