Lepowura Jawula will be missed!
• Lepowura Jawula – A fallen colossus
Precisely a week ago, one of the nation’s and undeniably Africa’s finest football administrators – Lepowura Alhaji MND Jawula, passed on to eternity and was laid to rest 24 hours later in line with Islamic traditions.
The former Ghana Football Association (GFA) boss (1997-2001) gave up the ghost in the United States where he had gone to seek further medical care, having battled a bout of ailment for a while in Ghana.
His expiration came as a huge shock to Ghanaians, especially when he even granted interviews after the Black Stars’ star-crossed campaign at the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament that ended just last month.
For many, the iconic football figure – and prince of the Gonjaland, would not only be remembered for the rotund voice bottled up in his frame, but for his ability to quickly think outside the box to proffer practical solutions.
It was the chief reason the Confederation of African Football (CAF), especially during the reign of Issa Hayatou (1988 and 2017), would always put him on a committee or two, expecting him to use his vast experience to put things right.
The charismatic Lepowura Jawula is regarded as one of the marquee names in football administration, having chaired the Black Starlets team that won gold at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Ecuador ‘95.
His rule as GFA boss saw the Starlets also finish second and third at the Egypt ‘97 and New Zealand ‘99 World Cup tournaments respectively.
Aside a sundry of positions he once occupied in the game, the 74-year-old Jawula was the chairman of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) Management Committee, and board member of Real Tamale United (RTU) – a club’s whose return to elite football in 2001 he spearheaded – after eight years in the doldrums.
Indeed, even before his passing, Lepowura was a member of the CAF Inter Club Committee – having served as a CAF match commissioner and many other portfolios for several years.
In other aspects of life, those who have walked close to him would tell you how deeply they drank from his reservoir of experience, wealth of knowledge and free-flowing philanthropic nature.
Incontestably, he was the kind who would always advise you to sprint beyond the normal distance, challenge yourself and dash for the jugular whenever the opportunity presents itself.
On two occasions (2008 and 2020), he was at this writer’s book launch as chairman, an invitation he accepted with no strings attached – encouraging him to publish more of such literatures “because tomorrow is not for us.”
Though extremely jovial, he was not the kind of man you could take for granted – as he would stoically hold his ground once he knew he was on the right track.
Today, the tender remains of Jawula – the Lepowura of the Kujolobito Gate of Lepo-Kpembe in the Kpembi Traditional Area in Gonjaland, Northern Region, lie in the bowels of Nashville, in United States of America.
You will be sorely missed, Lepowura. Rest well, King Lepo!
By John Vigah