Sports Features of Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Source: Papa Appiah

While the Black Stars Struggle, Where are The Ayews

We are not going to let this matter lie. We are not going to sit down and allow Kwesi Nyantakyi and Kwesi Appiah to use our beloved Black Stars to settle old scores. We demand an immediate public enquiry into the circumstances leading to the exclusion of the two brothers who are in top form and were both keen to play for their country.

What a load of nonsense! We have had in our recent past, players refusing to play for their country. Is that not indiscipline? Yet on those occasions, we were happy to fly round the world to beg them to play as if the Black Stars would not exist without them. What right do they have to upset the majority of Ghanaians and the balance of our team by excluding two of our most enthusiastic and hardworking players on petty, rather ridiculous excuses.

Dede has been playing for Ghana since he was seventeen. He has never refused a call-up. He was captain when our under twenty team won both the African Cup and the World Cup. He has never had a history of indiscipline. Through injury and ill-health, he has always plodded on for love of country. In the last AFCON, he played despite a dislocated shoulder. I watched and winced as his right shoulder was knocked back into place right before our very eyes in the middle of a game. One needed to amputate that boy’s legs to stop him playing for his country. How dare anybody break the boy’s heart with such impunity, just to settle personal scores?

We need an immediate public enquiry, and while at it, we need to investigate the circumstances under which Prince Boateng withdrew his services for the nation. The true story about that has never been told either. If our dummy coach and the GFA that controls him feel threatened by top stars, then they are not fit to run Ghana football.

Ghanaians have always loved their stars. From the days of Baba Yara, through Osei Kofi, to Robert Mensah, Adolph Armah, to the late Shamo Quaye and Joe Debrah, not to mention Abedi Pele, Ghanaians have always adored their stars and only a dumb coach and football authority would believe just getting rid of the top stars was the best way to build a team.

How would our team look like if we had Dede Ayew and Jordan Ayew on either side of Kwadwo Asamoah, supporting Asamoah Gyan, with Prince Boateng and Agyemang Badu behind them? Any good coach would be able to make that combination work at national level. Instead, who do we have? An old and immobile Derrick Boateng, who has suddenly shot into prominence as “spokesman” for the Black Stars following the appointment of Kwesi Appiah. We have Danquah- Adomah, who is not only expected to replace Dede but has been gifted our famous number ten shirt, adorned by great men like, Abdul Razak, Emmanuel Quarshie, Abedi Pele and Stephen Appiah. We have Christian Atsu, who though talented, is currently only at the level Dede was in 2008.

And then we go to play Kwadwo Asamoah in left full-back to make room for players like Boateng and Adomah in a Black Stars midfield! What is happening to the Black Stars? Who is running the Black Stars and what is their motivation? Has anybody heard Kwesi Appiah’s answers since the draw against Congo? Why did you play Kwadwo Asamoah in the left back position? Oh he is a utility player and he plays there for Juventus anyway. Well, I am sorry coach, he may be a utility player but that does not permit you to put him in goal. And sorry, at Juventus, he plays at wing back in a 3-5-2 formation, boasting one of the best midfields in the world. That is different from full-back in a midfield of Boateng, Adomah and Atsu.

Coach, why did you bring in Afful to the left-back position in the latter parts of the game? It was because the midfielders were tired so Kwadwo Asamoah had to push up to help them. How ridiculous! So the reason was not to utilize Asamoah in more advanced positions to pose more threat to the Congolese in a game we badly needed to win. Whose job is it anyway to ensure that the players are in top physical condition? If you drop top active players and replace them with benchwarmers and second division players, then you deserve all you get. Midfielders were tired! Indeed!

More was to follow. “We were robbed by the referee!” That is despite clearly observing Akaminko, a player he seemed to prefer for some strange reason rather than the battle-tested Vorsah, pull down an attacker who had left him for dead. And then “we lost as a result of tactical indiscipline” Whose job is it to instil tactical discipline? What did he do with his now famous six training sessions for which Dede was expelled from the squad for his inability to attend?

So what was it? Were we robbed? Were we tired? Did we lack tactical discipline or was it all of the above? If these answers do not paint a picture of a hopelessly clueless coach, then I don’t know what else would. You must excuse me if my language seems a bit harsh. I am annoyed that Ghana soccer is being destroyed right before our very eyes through pettiness and ignorance, while a nation sits and watches helplessly, unable to do anything about it.

Papa Appiah