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Opinions of Saturday, 20 September 2014

Columnist: Asubonteng, Bernard

Akwasi Appiah’s Dismissal: A Dirge for Black Inferiority Complex!

By—Bernard Asubonteng
Numerous media accounts at the time of writing this piece indicate that the current head coach of Ghana’s senior national soccer team, Akwasi Appiah, has been dismissed of his post to make way for a foreign coach (from the Serbia Republic?). The coach’s dismissal, as it appears, is a culmination of the behind-the-scenes pressure the clueless Ministry of Sports—acting on some partisan bickering from some Ghanaians—unleashed on the corrupt and incompetent GFA to effect the change. This is not only an unwelcome development but also it goes to reinforce the inferiority spell or the general belief that somehow blacks everywhere cannot be trusted to deliver high quality services. It also explains why black Africans, for instance, always seek help from their Caucasian kinfolks irrespective of how mediocre that assistance or service sought is delivered.
Let us try to clarify this point: no one is suggesting that Ghana or any country for that matter should not take advantage of transnational service and expertise, especially, from countries that are relatively light years ahead in certain areas of development. We live in the globalized world now, where the Internet has collapsed distances among nations. Modern societies depend on each other in so many ways. However, in this case, when it comes to soccer the country called Serbia is not better or ahead of Ghana in any dramatic fashion. Thus, if we make a fair comparison between Akwasi Appiah on one hand, and all the Serbian coaches GFA has previously hired on the other hand, there is not a veritable chasm between them in terms of expertise. The only remarkable difference is that Akwasi Appiah happens to be black from Ghana whereas the Serbian coaches are all white from Europe.
Here is the problem: many of us as black people as we are so-called do not have confidence or high self-esteem about ourselves. So, instead of striving to transcend limits we tend to accept limits imposed on us from foreign lands. The result, however, is that whenever blacks hit a wall, they back away and cry for the Europeans or expatriates to come help them find ways to navigate the wall without trying to figure things out for themselves. But, the sad thing is that the contrary is always never the case. The fact is many whites find it hard to take the passenger seat while blacks are in the driver’s seat. Do you blame them? It is ironic that many black people complain about how Europeans/whites disrespect or treat us with disdain. How can we demand respect from someone else if we do not want to accord respect to ourselves, first?
From day one as the head coach of the Black Stars, Akwasi Appiah has been a subject of ridicule and baseless insults from some Ghanaians. If we were to peel off most of these layers of innuendoes to their core, it becomes increasingly clear that many of Akwasi Appiah’s opponents are unconsciously more comfortable having a foreigner coaching the national soccer team than a local/black coach. The mere sight of a foreign coach or a white technical advisor conveys to these people a sense of competence and neutrality. Bear in mind that in an African country such as Ghana in which tribal sentiments and other competing sectarian interests appear to play an integral part of the society, a foreign coach who has no tribal allegiance is preferable to some Ghanaians. As black Africans, we have a long way to go as far as striking a fatal blow to the head of mental slavery is concerned.
At any rate, in the post-Akwasi Appiah’s Black Star, it is highly likely that the players will now come back to their senses and eschew any indiscipline, arrogance, and the larger-than-life tendencies that sabotaged the coach’s work during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The national team will then start winning more competitive games. If this happens—which is likely—under a foreign coach, many Ghanaians will jump to the sky and shout “hurray, hurray!” Didn’t we tell you that the white coach is the best and Appiah was incompetent? There lays the inferiority complex imbedded deep within black consciousness! The late Jamaican reggae superstar, Joseph Hill (Culture), made allusion to it in one of his hit songs thus: “I try and try but they [blacks] don’t understand…” And, of course, the late Bob Marley also advised many of us to “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery” because the most effective way to control slaves is to brainwash them to see no self-worth in themselves so that on subconscious level they feel worthless without their slave overlords.
The foregoing does not in any way a suggestion that black people must reject everything European or hate our Caucasian brothers and sisters. This is never the assumption here. There are many good and competent white people just like blacks. In the same token, there are bad and incompetent whites the same way as blacks everywhere. As hinted earlier, the difference is, our Caucasian folks persevere and try to generate a lot of creative ways to mitigate their adversities without looking for blacks’ help. On the other hand, in almost every situation the black man will run to the white man with his sorry tail between his legs and after all is said and done he will turn around and claim that whites do not respect him.
In short, Ghana FA and the Sports Ministry are just playing on Ghanaians’ intelligence. By acquiring the services of a foreign coach or technical director again in place of a local one, the Ghanaian officials are implying that if an expatriate coach was in charge of the Black Stars in Brazil things would have been entirely different regardless of the officials’ crooked ways. Akwasi Appiah’s dismissal is a veiled attempt to shift the blame and the mess the sports officials have created away from themselves. They can run but they can’t hide from the truth. For now, let’s sing a dirge for Ghana soccer development and black inferiority complex that probably will never disappear from our mindset till eternity.
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P/S: This reminder goes to some readers in this forum who always interpret everything someone writes here as tribally-motivated. Personally, I was happy and proud to learn that the Ghana FA had finally decided to use a local coach to prepare the Black Stars for the World Cup in 2014. If I write in favor of Akwasi Appiah, it is not because I am a Bono man as some uninformed readers here keep saying. I was born to Ashanti parents and raised in Kumasi; but, does it really matter in this modern age? Akwasi Appiah could have been an Ewe, Ga, Fanti, Akyem, or Northerner, I will still write and support him, because unlike some people, I strongly believe Ghana comes first before tribal or political considerations. At this point, let many of us try to play down tribal narratives because that is what is killing Ghana’s progress! We have to learn to encourage each other to succeed.


Bernard Asubonteng can be reached at asubonteng@globalpulpit.com or visit his personal weblog: www.globalpulpit.com