Sports Features of Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Source: James K. Attaglo Wilson
The word mediocre has been in the dictionary for ages but it became more popular in Ghana when former President Jerry John Rawlings used it to describe some government appointees of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
This same word has suddenly become the foremost cliché among Ghanaians because of the Black Stars shameful attitude at the just ended FIFA World Cup especially when central defender, John Boye was caught on camera kissing a bundle of dollar bills.
A situation which struck a commentator during Ghana's last group match against Portugal to say that the Black Stars looked tired because they might have counted money all night long.
But do you blame him? No! Because there was complete lack of trust between these players and their management committee members so they wanted to count their monies to the last dollar on receipt.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez would be remembered for sinking his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder but that does not go down as the fondest memory of the tournament. But the way and manner in which all of a sudden a collection of 23 football players could hold a west African nation to ransom forcing President, John Mahama to fly over $4m across the Atlantic Ocean to pay players unpaid appearance fees rather gained currency.
Why should I 'wet my pants' just because the Black Stars of Ghana won its last world cup match? Truth is, in Ghana and most African countries we honour people who don't know the essence of wearing the national colours.
The question here is, why worry yourself with "an ant when you have an elephant to catch?" The Black Stars appearance fee saga that nearly drowned the nation into the Amazon basin can never compare to the winning prize of the world cup but the players chose to strategize and fought for the former.
Upon the shame and humiliations that Africa suffered at the biggest football fiesta in Brazil- Algeria showed some maturity at least when the entire team decided to donate their appearance fees bonus to a charity.
The first statement you'll hear from a Ghanaian player before any match in an interview is pleading to the entire populace to remember them in their prayers but time has shown us these players think little about these same people anytime they don the national jersey.
As the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup curtain fell at the refurbished humungous Maracana stadium on July, 13. The Albicelestes of Argentina were runners up to the Germans but this was not enough for the South Americans as tears cascaded down the cheeks of most of their supporters who made a-three-day journey to neighbouring Brazil to watch the final.
If Ghana had made it to the semi finals of the same event, the entire country's woes would have been put aside to throw a monstrous party for the team for a happily ever after tournament. This to an extent describes the psychology of our people.
The legend Arentes do Nascimento (Pele) predicted an African nation winning the world cup after the then Indomitable Lions of Cameroon had distinguished themselves at the 1990 FIFA World Cup but the African players of today are never ready to put certain things behind them to push African football to the next level.
Brazil 2014 tournament to a larger extent exposed the organizational chaos in our football federation. A situation which caused Ghana greatly in Brazil because some players thought officialdom were using them as cash cows.
If Ghana have a good scouting system in place the nation could have paraded a local team that could perform far better than the side we presented at Brazil but because of our lazy attitude to work we always run to the West to scout for players. What is more, we even beg players who doesn't care a hoot about our cultural sensitivities.
It's just unthinkable the way those who run football in Ghana think that any Ghanaian who wanders in Europe have this lovely nation at heart. Some of these guys still think we are living in the jungles whiles they are in heaven. There's a popular saying in Akan that , "Ekuro a emirika tufuo enim no, achacha huri tra gutter a yese woa ye adea", - In a country where sprinters are nonexistent, the hunchback is lauded for leaping over a common gutter.
Ghana's Asamoah Gyan is today the leading African goal scorer at the world cup with six goals but a 23-year-old Colombian football genius James Rodriquez managed to bag 6 goals from five matches at the just ended world cup.
Thomas Muller of Germany has scored ten goals in two FIFA World Cups whiles Neymar dos Santos Jnr. carried the hopes of over 200 million Brazilians on his shoulders to reach the semi finals of the 2014 World Cup where they lost to Germany.
One of the causes of poor performance of most African players at the highest level like the world cup could be put at the door step of our sports journalists.
Can you imagine been called by a Ghanaian player in Europe soon after a radio program for expressing an opinion? What is more disgusting is that these guys are fed with lies and contacts by some journalists in the same field.
This action deters some journalists to pass comments or publish about certain Ghanaian players who ply their trade outside Ghana.
One thing that these players fail to realize is that most of them go beyond our shores because of just one good piece of writing from an unknown source.
When Ghanaian players are playing locally they always would like to associate themselves with one or two journalist but soon after they leave the shores of Ghana they prefer to be treated as demigods.
It's unbelievable to see our players granting interviews to the international media but shun media from their own country.
Anytime Ghana lost a match their most preferred cliché is, "w) ny33 w) fee interview" which literally means, "No comments."
In Africa, professional players think they are above criticisms but in the same continent it is very common to switch on your radio in the morning to hear people mocking and raining insults on the first gentleman of the state.
Again, the demeanor of some African coaches at the side lines showed that they had no control over their 'moneyed and so called peacocks' on the field of play.
For instance, how on earth could Michael Essien fail to jog with his team mates prior to Ghana's last match against Portugal. A squad which rather needs their inspiration. The million dollar question here is, could he have done same under Jose Mourinho?