Sports Features of Sunday, 10 March 2013
Source: Amuna, Nick
The entire Ayew family has served Ghana very well in the game of football and I applaud them for their contribution to Ghana football, but I would like to point it out to them that their decision to temporarily quit the senior national football team is pre-mature and wrong.
Patriotism can be defined in so many ways, but I will define patriotism as an individual’s ability to demonstrate selfless devotion, love and commitment to his or her country. The Ayew brothers must come to the realization that their success in football has brought them to a level where, the needs of the country should come first. It is an unfortunate situation to be in but when you achieve such level of success you become a national figure and a lot more is expected of you. This may sound unfair but all of the positive contributions made to Ghana football by the Ayew family will be flawed, and their patriotism questioned when they turn down a call to serve their country in the game of football.
Dede was able to make it to the senior national team and eventually featured in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa because Muntari had disciplinary issues with former Blackstars coach Rajevac. It was obvious at that time that Muntari was not happy to have Dede take his spot in the first team but Muntari dealt with it professionally by starting from the bench in the 2010 world cup.
It is the goal of every footballer to represent his country at the world cup as many times as possible, several world class players such as Kaka, Ronaldinho, David Beckham and many more have represented their country in several world cups and are now much older but will not hesitate to answer a call to represent their country again at the world stage. All of these players have been dropped and recalled to their national football team several times, but none of them have opted to temporarily retire from their national team.
Kaka was interviewed recently and asked about his inability to make the Real Madrid first team, and lack of national team invitation but, he responded by saying “I will continue to work hard to pave the way for a recall to my national team” he also stated that “he will never turn down a call to serve his nation in the game of football”. Kaka’s hard work and humility led to a recall by coach Scolari to rejoin the Brazilian football team on 5 March 2013.
I know Dede represented Ghana at the 2010 world cup, but I encourage the Ayew brothers to learn from the following world class players including their own father Abedi Pele who never made it to the world cup. Some of the players include Bernd Schuster of Germany, Abedi Pele of Ghana and father of the Ayew brothers, George Weah of Liberia, Ian Rush of Wales, Eric Cantona of France, George Best, John Toshack of Wales, Valentino Mazzola of Italy and Manuel Moreno of Argentina, most of these players will tell you that their greatest failure in football is not representing their country at the world cup.
Former German midfielder Bernd Schuster missed a great opportunity to represent Germany at the world cup several years ago by making similar regrettable and pre-mature decision to retire from international football at the age of 24, simply because of his disagreement with his German national team coach. A decision regretted by Schuster.
The current Nyantakyi GFA administration may not be perfect but have given Ghana two world cup tournaments, and have won the world under 20 world cup. I encourage the GFA and coach Appiah to listen to constructive criticism from Ghanaians and make positive changes but should not lose their focus. Ghana is a great footballing nation with high quality and talented young footballers. No one player is bigger than Ghana, give every patriotic young Ghanaian who is ready and willing to serve mother Ghana in the game of football the opportunity to do so. Players who do not want to serve should be allowed to stay away from the team.
I know Ghanaians have enjoyed their presence in the last two world cup tournaments, and would like to qualify for the 2014 world cup but pursuing players who have made it clear that they do not want to serve the nation is disrespectful to those who are committed to doing so. No single player should be given any guarantee of being invited to play at all times. It will be lovely to have the Ayew brothers and Kevin Prince Boating to return to the national team but they should not be begged to do so, it should be a patriotic duty and an honor for them to play for the national team.
The GFA should launch what I refer to as “operation justify your inclusion” Coach Appiah should be allowed to build a winning team by conducting a regional football camp throughout the entire country to find local and committed talent. Selected players should be blended with committed foreign based Ghanaian players, play a few friendly games and select the best to represent Ghana. It is better to have a committed team willing to serve Ghana than foreign based players who want to choose when and which games they want to play. Almost all of our foreign based players are playing for overseas clubs because our local football system. God bless Ghana football.
By: Nick Amuna