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Sports News of Sunday, 29 June 2014


Fans demand Black Stars, management overhaul

Fans of the Black Stars in Sao Paolo have called for a purge of the team of disrespectful and self-seeking elements whose only motivation to play for Ghana is financial.

They have also called for an overhaul of the management team saying they could not absolve themselves of the disastrous performance of the team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In interviews with the Daily Graphic after the team's elimination from the competition, some of the fans said although the coach of the team, Akwasi Appiah, got his tactics wrong in the first match, egocentrism, greed, indiscipline and the failure of some members of the team to see their participation in the tournament as a national call was responsible for the disaster.

They were also of the view that some individuals with the intention of fleecing the nation had managed to get themselves into the inner circle of the management of the team and were engaging in acts inimical to the success of the Stars.

Lionel Tay, one of the many fans who travelled from the US to cheer the Black Stars and who expressed disappointment at the turn of events, said players, no matter the extent of provocation, had no right to engage in fisticuffs with members of the management.

He said verbally abusing a coach, no matter his shortcomings, was disrespectful, arrogant and "un-Ghanaian."

"When did so much indiscipline creep into the team? Who are those who should have ensured that things did not deteriorate to the extent to which it did? Were they sleeping?" he asked.

He said it was clear that some of the players were not focused on winning laurels for the nation but rather on how much money they would make per match.

"The days when people felt proud wearing the national colours and representing the nation for almost nothing appear to be long gone. It is all about money, money, money," he said.

According to Mr Tay, in spite of the "money conscious" nature of many of the players, there were many others in the country who were perhaps more skilled and who were ready to don the national colours for much less and still play their hearts out.

Kwesi Akyea, another fan, said anyone found to have engaged in acts of indiscipline should be "booted out" of the team no matter how legitimate his concerns might be.

"We have treated people like demigods and they have grown wings and horns, perhaps thinking without them we cannot have a national team. We need to prove them wrong," he said.

Alfred Duah, for his part, sought to know what criteria were used to select members of the management team of stars.

"Reports filtering in point to the fact there were issues in camp which many of us are not aware of. I think we should be cautious in our criticism of the boys," he said.

"I just read on the internet that some of the officials were trying to feed fat on the boys. If this is true and if those greedy officials are not removed, the future of the team would be blurred.

"It is some of these things that cost the team qualification in 1992 when we had an array of stars. It is unfortunate that they have reared their ugly heads again. This sounds like déjá vu," he said.

Many others expressed similar sentiments