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Sports Features of Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Source: Baidoo, Justice

No tears for Gyan

Justice Baidoo

Our dearest baby jet says he won’t play for us again-at least not in the foreseeable future. We are told the Sunderland striker on loan at Al-Ain, communicated his decision to the F.A a couple of days back with the full backing of his family and friends.

He says Ghanaians “excessively criticized” him after he missed the penalty that could have taken us through to the Nations Cup final in our game against Zambia a fourth nights ago.

On and on the statement goes and it only carries one message; he’s done with us.
I’ve been reading some commentary and views from a cross section of Ghanaians on social networking media and also on radio all machinating possible reasons why our soccer cum showbiz star could have left us at this time. And of course you can trust us for that- theory machination is our major.
I’ve heard very possibly realistic ones which suggests the young man probably wants to pick his form again at club level so he can bounce back in style dawning the black and white jersey to prove he is not done with football yet as his skeptics think.
Rather humorous people have also said the man is obviously tired of replacing-for two weeks running- Ghana’s most popular financial engineer Alfred Agbesi Woyome. And I forgot to add, humor is also another God-given Ghanaian talent- we find laughter even in the most serious of issues.
And very interestingly ridiculous ones which point to the President’s assertion that the Black stars be taught how to take penalties as that seems to be our weakest point as a team in Thursday’s state of the nation’s address as Asamoah Gyan’s reason for quitting-that’s perhaps one last Ghanaian attribute you must know; we never end any argument without going down the lane of partisan politics.
Suggestions are that the country’s first gentleman was playing a blame game and especially because Gyan’s resignation came only a day after that speech in parliament.
My intention is not to replay any boring political speech, but just for the sake of anybody who did not get clearly what President Mills told parliament, here you are; “I was going to suggest that we need to teach them how to take penalties and somebody in this august house who is an expert in penalty taking is Hon E.T Mensah”…
“Government would continue to support the team in every step of the way. They did their best and we must all continue to support them. Even they didn’t win; we can take consolation in the fact that they were beaten by the eventual winners”. (Mills, 2012)
But really, who says no Ghanaian has the right criticize mistakes in our team even if they did? And this is despite the fact that I believe it is totally wrong for any such critique to go in for the player’s person.
I’m not an everyday football pundit so don’t mind my factual inaccuracies even though I’ve tried to put out the correct details.
If you have the benefit of internet, do follow this link: The result is the story of one Emelia Asiedua, whose only last words were “Oh, Asamoah” before she painfully collapsed and died somewhere in Accra after Asamoah Gyan missed the last minute penalty in our game against Uruguay in June 2010 at the World cup.
In that instance we could have earned a semi-final slot- the first time an African country had done that-and possibly gone all the way at the world stage.
Hers is just one manifestation of the heartbreak the millions of Ghanaians both home and abroad endure at any such time and it’s not as if the player in question is spared the trauma either, admittedly.
In our recent episode when Gyan missed the eight minute penalty against Zambia, we were bound for the trophy- a feat that has eluded us for three decades.
It’s about time we stop making our players feel like they are doing us a favor by coming to play on a national assignment- they are plying their trade, for which they are paid. This is apart from the fact that the nation makes them in the first place. Who would have seen the midfield prowess of a certain Micahel Essien if he was still playing in the stony backyard pitches of his native Awutu home town and not featured for the Satellites 2001 squad?
Today we have him playing for a certain Chelsea almost simultaneously when some hitherto unknown chipolopolos are putting the ball through our now porous midfield from nowhere.
For the almost two hours that everything in this country comes to a halt every time our stars are playing, have we asked ourselves how much the country looses and also individually?
So why are we taking that natural feeling to question the wrongs in our team and particularly about our players any time they fail to deliver when we need it most from ourselves. And for that reason we should curse our stars that we opened our mouths in this country when we lost against Zambia.
How about the case of Ivorian captain, Didier Drogba who has missed two penalties in two nation’s cup finals, the recent being the Gabon final? Ivoirians did not throw pump and pageantry at him necessarily because he was an untouchable Didier Drogba but because he had learnt from the mistake and decided to move on with the team.
That’s the mark of a matured sportsman.
It is not for nothing at all that the likes of David Beckham would forever be celebrated in English football even though he also missed three successive crucial penalties under bizarre circumstances that broke the hearts of English fans at the 2004 Euro Championships in Greece.
If any of us fail to meet our job requirements as professionals, we expect to be reprimanded and sometimes even sacked by the people who have interest in what we do. So why is is such a big deal if the ordinary Ghanaian, whose sweat makes up the winning bonuses our players earn after playing?
This article is with recourse to the fact that the game of football is not one that you would always win or have everything go as you expect, but it has also turned out to be true that he who puts in the most hard work and determination almost always gets the glory.
The African cup has not visited Ghana in 30 years largely because we have not shown enough hunger for it within the period.
Of course all of us would miss his usual ‘hitting the goal post umpteen times and eventually putting one or two at the back of the net’ and his usual ‘Azonto’ dance on scoring if he truly decides to go for good, but the point is that emotional sentiments cannot take the place of factual reality.
He did his best in his 59 appearances scoring 28 goals for the stars and nobody including Gyan himself can say we didn’t celebrate him when we had to. Maybe and just maybe, its time someone else led our attack- that’s the sad football reality- it’s the profession with the shortest life span. And this especially goes to the Sulley Muntaris, Prince Tagoes and John Paintsils.
I’m thinking we are yet to see the last of our baby jet, but just in case our date with Africa’s new champions was the last time he was going to break our hearts, then fare thee well brother Gyan.
Unfortunately, I’m not crying!