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Sports Features of Friday, 31 May 2013

Source: Andoh, Isaac Kyei

How on earth did Akaminko and Opare fail ....

..... to get into ‘this’ Blackstars team?

Before putting my points across, I first want my dear reader to take a quick look at the defenders called for our crunch world cup qualifiers against Sudan. Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Samuel Inkoom (Bastia, France), Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Baba Rahman (Greuther Furth) Central Defenders: John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg United, South Africa), Rashid Sumaila (Kotoko)

I believe by glancing through, you have pinpointed in your own estimation, those who do not deserve to be in that team and those whose call-up is justified- I have too.

I lauded Kwesi Appiah when after taking over the Stars post, he pointed out that only players enjoying a ‘fair bite’ of club football and also playing in highly competitive leagues are going to be part of his team. I believe that we have too much in terms of talents to rely on players warming the bench in their respective clubs. It therefore comes to me as a surprise when players like Jerry Akaminko, Daniel Opare , David Ardy and other players performing so well in competitive leagues are constantly overlooked during call-up to National assignment though available.

I am aware of the fact that there cannot be space for every player but I am amazed at how some players get into the team and what led to the omission of others.

Could it be that these players do not have godfathers and representatives in the FA to speak on their behalf as has been alleged?

On the 7th of March, Ghana would be playing the match that is key in deciding whether we are going to Brazil or not.

On paper, the squad is very week and it therefore comes as a surprise when two of our best performing defenders at club level are overlooked. Having featured consistently in the Turkish League, considered by football connoisseurs around the world as one of the toughest leagues in Europe and excelling at both right back and central defense, nothing should have stopped Akaminko from being part of this team. Considered the heir apparent to the ‘vacant’ right back position, Opare has been in fine form since his return from injury. Given his ability to slot in well at the left back position, he surely deserved a place in this team if somebody did his work well.

Many believe that Jerry Akaminko’s continues omission despite strong presence in the Turkish League is due to the ‘mistake’ he made in the Blackstars nations cup opener against DR Congo that resulted in a penalty leading to leveler. Was he not rather used as a ‘scapegoat’ for the failings of others?

Is it justice to drop a player because of a single mistake? What is the difference between a defender making a mistake that gives the opponent a goal and a striker failing to score with just an opponent’s keeper to beat? Is Kwesi Appiah who himself was a defender telling the whole world that a single mistake is enough to make a hardworking player surplus to requirement? Then what should have been the fate of the manager who showed clearly that he was overwhelmed by the competition and lost the tactical battle against opponents who were largely expected to be blown away by our ‘superiority’? I think if Kwesi Appiah kept his job after the Nations cup, if Asamoah keeps getting called after the missed chances, then everybody deserves to start on the new page. Whatever exonerated Kwesi Appiah from being axed, whatever saved Asamoah Gyan from paying for his missed chances should equally save Jerry Akaminko. We cannot keep making scapegoat out of players who do not have godfathers to defend them. Hope you remember the players below? William Amamoo: (played his last game after conceding 4 against Japan in International friendlies), Patrick Antwi: (Played his very first and last after a blunder against Mexico in International Friendlies),

Issa Armed: (Affectionately called the Rock, he was never heard of after making a mistake against Zimbabwe that led to a goal.)

Samuel Osei Kufour: (I can still picture his face buried in the grass of AWD-Arena after giving a clumsy that resulted in Italy scoring their second in Ghana’s first ever world cup match. He wasn’t selected for the subsequent matches and never received a call until he retired)

The list goes on and on…

This nonsense must stop!

Isaac Kyei Andoh

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