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Opinions of Friday, 15 February 2013

Columnist: Aboagye, Abdulai

Accusing Akwasi Appiah of Tribalism is Foolishness

Losing is the worst thing to swallow. Worse still is losing to one you never dreamt could beat you. Therefore, Ghanaians anger and frustration over the Black Stars' demise at the Orange AFCON 2013 is somewhat justified.

Naturally, for every sports loving nation, such a defeat illicit various forms of postmortem. And so it is natural that people will rush to the good old Ghanaweb and express their views mostly to chastise the Coach, in this case Akwasi Appiah. He’s been accused of anything from Ananse to Zebra which does not concern this writer. What concerns this writer is the accusation that James Akwasi Appiah is a tribalist and that he turned the team into Ashanti Stars as written by one Paa Appiah. The sad part is that Paa Appiah is a microcosm of a disturbing trend in the Ghanaian discourse.

It is so sad that learned and intelligent people like Paa Appiah will allow limbic overdrive to cloud their judgment when it comes to it issues of national interest. For some reason, some people in Ghana see everything through the prism of tribalism. Whether it is about the President or the school teacher in my little village, all some people care about is tribalism. In Coach Appiah’s case you can accuse him of anything but to accuse him of tribalism is just below the belt.

A typical Black Stars lineup at the AFCON of Dauda, Paintsil, Afful, Boye, Vorsah, Badu, Rabiu, Wakaso, Atsu, Asamoah (Kwadwo) and Gyan, represents possibly the most diverse Black Stars line up since 1978. I stand to be corrected. Somebody should tell me the last time my great people from across the Volta had two players in the starting lineup of the Black Stars. Wakaso is now a household name. Is he Ashanti? How about goalkeeper Dauda? How many of our past coaches would have started him in place of Adam?

Onewill also expect intelligent people to know that not all Akans are Ashantis. Asante (Ashanti) is just a small part of the larger Akan community. There are the Bonos, the Akyems, the Wassas, the Denkyiras, the Fantis, and various others who span from the Central region to the BA region down to the Eastern region and some parts of the Volta region, who are proud of their tribes and often times calling them Asante insult their pride as unique group. In fact of the players that make up the starting lineup of the Black Stars, it seems only one is Asante. Better still the whole idea of linking tribalism with every national endeavor is just absurd, ridiculous and ludicrous in this day and age.

As a nation we gain nothing by stoking tribal fires. History teaches us that those countries that walked on the path of tribalism found out that the tribalistic path leads to only one city, and that is the city of destruction. We must also understand that the internet, a great tool as it is, can also be a destructive vehicle. And so when we sit at the comfort of our homes and behind our computers, we should all realise that whatever we spew on the internet may have damning consequences on other people’s lives. What do we gain if we see our beloved and much respected Ghana go up in flames because we failed to continue the legacy and heritage left by our fore-bearers? For a nation that has produced Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan Dr Klutshe, and Dr Ashitey, to mention just a few, we cannot allow ourselves to fail because of senseless tribalism. For a nation that has two of it's sons Cardinal Turkson and Alan K in the running for the papalcy and head of the WTO respectively, we cannot succumb to senseless tribalism. As a Ghanaian my proudest moments are the times I can brag, much to the chagrin of other African nationals, that Ghana is the oasis of peace in the region of turmoil.

Akwasi Appiah may have made many mistakes for which he will live to regret, and for which we have the right to question, analyse and to vent our frustration, but tribalism is not one of them. Hopefully he will learn from it just like Stephen Keshi learnt from his first experience with the super eagles. And hopefully some of us will take a couple of deep breaths and let reason prevail.