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Sports Features of Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Source: Peprah, Ransford

Appiah Should Give us a Break

King David is probably the most celebrated man in the Book of the Old Testament. King David is a man who created a pathway for his children and his nation. Before the end of King David’s ruling life, he consolidated the Kingdom of Israel; he planned for the Great Temple and raised money so that it could be built by his son, Solomon; he wrote great Psalms and songs that millions of people are using them today in times of sorrow or despair. In short, King David served as an example to not only his son, Solomon, but also to his nation; and therefore, Stephen Appiah could follow suit.

Stephen Appiah could do the same by preparing the path for his children and all up-coming young Ghanaians to as well follow his lead. Just about a week ago, Appiah announced the time of his retirement. According to him, he will keep on playing football until his golden jubilee, which would be his 50 year birthday before he retires. At the moment, according to his document, he will be thirty (30) years of age on the 24th of December this year. In other words, he has twenty (20) more years to go, whilst most of the younger players, who are ready to step into his shoes, are now turning 20.
What is Appiah demonstrating to the citizens of the Republic of Ghana? Is Appiah telling us to suspend the dreams of these young players till they become 40 years old before they could be given the opportunity to play? How old was he when he started playing for the Black Stars?
Some of us have been following the ex-captain for a while now. We have been defending him throughout his difficult times in his professional years. We love Appiah and there is no doubt about that. We will want him to play till he hit his 100 year mark if that would be possible because most of us can’t get enough of him. On the contrary, his performance has diminished after his unfortunate injury and prolonged rehabilitation. Even running has become a problem for him nowadays. We all saw the difference between Appiah of 2010 WC and Appiah of 2006 WC. The Appiah we all knew four years ago wasn’t the Appiah we all saw last month. This is why most of his fans are asking him to reconsider and rethink his time of retirement.
The 20 more years Appiah is insinuating, before he gives up playing, is too long considering his status and the young players coming into the game. A better recommendation would be for him to play till his 50th birthday with a club but not with the Black Stars. Unless he can perform better than the incoming players, the country and his fans would ask him to do us a favor and to give us a break.
In the process of researching for facts to support the article, there came few major questions needed to be asked. Stephen Appiah is now 29 and his first son, Larry, is 10 years old. Since it left 20 more years for him to retire, according to the his statement indicated last week, is he telling us that he is not going to quit playing till his son, Larry, becomes 30 years of age? How can Larry get the opportunity to play for his country when he becomes good in his twenties and wants to render his service? Rodney, Appiah’s second son, should turn 28 by the time the father retires, if we go by what the father is saying. What if the Rodney is good, like Dede replicating his father, and wants to play for his country? Do we have to stop the child from pursuing his dreams of playing for the country just because the father hasn’t retired yet? Appiah’s third child, Dustin, will be 26 years old when the father turns 50. Does this mean Dustin wouldn’t be able to play until Papa has retired, even though, he may be better than Papa? This is ridiculous and it is the reason why the Stephen Appiah may have to re-think of his decision in terms of his retirement.
Here is an option Appiah may consider, and to me, it is the best I could recommend. Appiah could take four more years from now to begin to pursue a coaching course while playing. For the coaching programs, from class “D” to class “A”, it should take him approximately four years to graduate. Usually a program it self takes only weeks to complete; however, it takes a year to do an internship which is a requirement before a candidate could join the next upper class. He could be in one of the United States Major League Soccer teams, continuing his profession, whilst taken the coaching course as an attachment. Most of the teams in US are rich and may offer him a good deal for a four year contract.
Appiah can quit playing after his contract is over and has completed the coach’s managing program. His friend and team mate from Brescia during the season of 2002 and 2003, Josep Guardiola, now the manager for Barcelona FC, took a similar route. Today Guardiola is one of the youngest coaches ever achieved the unachievable. To bring his manager’s tally to a maximum of six trophies in six different types of competitions in a single year, Guardiola has become the first ever coach to complete a sextuple. Appiah could do the same, and to me, it would allow him to step-up (Borrowed from Stephen Appiah) in his life.
A man is supposed to create a pathway for his children to come and trek on like King David did for his son, Solomon, before his death. King David prepared the path not only for his son but also the entire nation of Israel as indicated in the first paragraph; Abedi retired from International football, left and gave out the space for all Ghanaians including Stephen Appiah to step up, which Appiah has been using as his slogan today, and off cause, his son Dede to follow suite. Both King David and Adedi Pele have served as an example to us all to advance. Therefore, it is time for our own Stephen “Step Up” Appiah to rethink of his decisions toward his retirement. An advice has been proposed to him and I know others have better ones too to offer.

In all things, “Get Understanding, Get Wisdom.”

Ransford Frempong Peprah or e-mail (