Sports News of Friday, 17 January 2014
GFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi, has stated categorically that Coach Kwasi Appiah’s decision to settle for only players who play regularly for their clubs would be tampered with under extreme circumstances.
Nyantakyi dropped the bombshell in an interview with the Graphic Sports after the Glo-CAF Awards in Lagos last Friday, insisting that the status quo would be changed depending on the quality of the player(s) involved.
“That rule will be tampered with some exceptions in exceptional circumstances. It all depends on the calibre of the player involved, his experience and input when he plays for the Black Stars, then we can consider him,” he explained.
He stressed that there was a difference between a player having a club and not playing regularly, and not having a club at all.
“If you have a club and you don’t play, it is different from somebody who doesn’t have a club at all; that makes it difficult, and in that case the coach has to explain why.”
He made particular reference to the former Stars skipper, John Mensah, who had featured prominently in recent debates regarding his quality vis-a-vis the team’s defensive problems, describing him as an asset to the nation in his active days.
“John Mensah is a very dependable central defender; about the best in his position during his playing days. If he is playing for a club today and he is not even regular he can be considered, but if he is not playing at all it is dangerous,” he emphasised.
Nyantakyi also hailed the current craze of transfers among Ghanaian players in Europe as a positive desperation in a bid to catch the attention of Coach Appiah ahead of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“I think it is a positive desperation because they are all trying to catch the attention of the coach and also maintain their form for the World Cup. It is a positive move the players are making.
“If you are in a club and you are not getting enough playing time, it will show when you come to the national team; but wherever you are, even with a small club and you are getting playing time, it has a better impact on the national team,” he noted.
Nyantakyi, who doubles as the chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee, said the situation was not peculiar to Ghana and, therefore, encouraged players to move from big clubs where they were not getting playing time to small clubs where they would enjoy more playing time.
“I hope the coach would select the best, and whoever he selects to make up his final 23 I will support it,” he assured.
He hinted that the FA would announce a comprehensive package regarding the Stars’ roadmap to the 2014 World Cup, including scouts, medical team, coaching staff, friendly matches, and camping base, among others, in the next couple of weeks.
“Our target is to go beyond the benchmark we set for ourselves at the last World Cup (quarter-finals). Personally, I’m even looking forward to seeing Ghana become the first African country to win the World Cup trophy,” Nyantakyi predicted.