Sports Features of Thursday, 21 March 2013
Source: Seyram Mawuenyegais
Dear, Mr. Nyantakyi (President of the Ghana Football Association),
I am writing this letter to discuss how you can improve the national team and better understand the views and opinions of Ghanaians which are always meant to be in the nation’s best interest.
The first thing I would like to discuss is John Paintsil. The behaviour he exhibited in allegedly mercilessly beating his wife was just appalling! I do not see how he could do such a thing. He is a star and should know that every mistake he makes will be caught by the press and he should also know how to control his temper. As the deputy captain and one of the senior members of the squad, I do not see how he can continue his duties because as we have a relatively young squad John is one of the players they would have looked up to. His authority will be questioned and the team might lose faith in him which will affect morale in the camp. As a result, I believe he should be temporarily relieved of his duties even if he is a senior member of the squad.
Next, I would like to discuss Asamoah Gyan. A prolific goal scorer, team captain and two goals shy of being the nation’s all-time top goal scorer as well as serving the team for about 10 years, Gyan is the perfect striker on paper. However, I believe he cannot deliver.
The first and biggest mistake he made was trading the thrill and experience of the English Premier League to join Al Ain in the UAE. Now would any top player aside from one that only cares about money do that? Despite being top scorer in that league he took a significant dip in form and it showed at the recent AFCON 2013. He had gained a lot of weight, lost speed and was not a clinical finisher. I do not think he deserved a place in the tournaments best XI as judged by CAF. For me, the best solution is to recall Jordan Ayew and use Mubarak Wakaso (who was the joint top scorer at the tournament) as a striker. Sulley Muntari should replace Gyan as captain. If he can find a club in Europe and show signs of resurgence then he can be called up.
Next is the manner in which you treat senior players. According to reports, that is the main reason why Michael Essien will not return to the team. You should talk to the coach about this. Wouldn't you be frustrated if you were a senior member of the squad and you were warming the bench whilst a bunch of young players that still need to be shown the ropes were in your place? It showed at the AFCON 2013 as we did not have the right blend of youth and experience. I suggest that you wait patiently for Michael to say he's ready to return and assure him that all players will be given an equal chance to make the starting XI because he is a vital part of this team.
I have always been told stories by my father about the Black Stars team of the past. The likes of Abedi Pele, Sammy Kuffour, Anthony Baffoe, Tony Yeboah, Mohammed Polo, Ibrahim Sunday as well as Marcel Desaily who was a legend of the game even though he did not play for the Black Stars. I believe that all of these former greats could make fantastic members of the technical bench of the Black Stars. I feel that nobody better knows the game and the team than these former greats and their experience will be key. I feel that in this Nations’ Cup our main problem was a lack of experience as the team and the technical team were both quite young.
Also, the team doctor needs to be replaced in my opinion, as one of our promising players Richmond Boakye Yiadom could not feature in the AFCON 2013 tournament after sustaining a slight injury and according to the doctor, worsened it by playing table tennis all night.
Another issue is how the FA deals with foreign players who can represent the Black Stars. Classic examples are Mario Balotelli, Danny Welbeck and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Two of these opted to play for their European teams having represented them at youth levels and the other retiring after nine appearances. It goes without saying that this is not good enough.
Another example is the ridiculous amount of time it took to finalize the deal for Emmanuel Frimpong. Despite the egos of some players, I hope that you exercise patience with the players and try your best to get them to represent the Black Stars because I feel that the coach should only put the best starting 11 out there and they are part of it. You could also use the advantage of some Ghanaians playing alongside them at club level.
I also think that the boys should master the art of taking set pieces especially penalties. Penalty shootouts have been the downfall of the team in competitions they have done extremely well in. Penalties should be practiced at every training session and lastly the players even though it is their choice should stop having such ridiculous haircuts for example those exhibited by the likes of Issac Vorsah, Asamoah Gyan, John Boye and Mubarak Wakaso.
Sir, I submit this piece as my humble and candid opinion of the state of affairs of our beloved Black Stars of Ghana and this is my best Black Stars XI plus substitutes:
Fatau Dauda, Harrison Afful, John Boye, Isaac Vorsah, Jonathan Mensah, Kevin Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari(c), Christian Atsu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Dede Ayew, Mubarak Wakaso.
*Substitutes: *Emmanuel Frimpong, Jordan Ayew, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Richmond Boakye Yiadom, Anthony Annan, Emmanuel Clottey, Adam Kwarasey.
See you in Kumasi on 24th March.
Seyram Mawuenyega (aged 11 and lifelong Black Stars fan)
Email : stefanseyram@Hotmail.com