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Opinions of Thursday, 28 April 2011

Columnist: Barani, Shaban

Ghana Football Is On Red Alert!

Does anyone doubt that?

The single most patronized sport in the country is on red alert, both at national team and at club levels. And this is all too clear except for the ostriches who bury their heads in the sand ostensibly to run away from reality.

Who is to blame?

All stakeholders in the running of the game are, except that some would have the very simple task of having to shoulder more of the blame as trustees of the game in the country.

It had long been coming and was only a matter of time that we were all going to arrive at what was a looming conclusion that all was not and could not be well with our beloved game even though the Black Stars are riding on a crest wave currently.

Like the proverbial prophet of doom, so did we dare at the time predict that Ghana football was in dire need of a total restructuring and overhaul because of events over the last three months especially to do with our national teams.

Whiles it isn’t fun to claim vindication for only God knows what, I guess the words; ‘I told you so’ could be pardonable simply because as a writer irrespective of whether my and the views of other respected writers matter in the general scheme of events, we are stakeholders in the game here in Ghana.

As it stands now, a bare statistic is that; Ghana Football is going to be missing (regretfully so) at all youth tournaments; male and female levels for the next two years, ‘thanks’ to the below par performances put up by the starlets team right down to the latest flops, the Black Satellites.

We rightly predicted that with the very dismal display put up by the various national teams, pressure was sure to be heaped on the shoulders of coach Wellington and his charges; in whom Wellington had absolute trust.

The truth being that; even if the team had qualified for the next round; they would have done so whiles reeling under the pressure of avoiding the damning fate that had befallen the Meteors, Starlets, Queens and the local Black Stars.

The trajectory of events however is hinged in my perspective on two core areas; the technical (coaching) and management (Football Association) plane. First into the technical realm – where I concede I am no expert.

1. Coach

Frimpong Manso, reshuffled his Black Starlets squad after a core squad had given you reasonable success, he introduced new lads into the squad and to that end, his performance was expected, after all he ensured Ghana missed out on a second successive appearance.

2. Then came Coach

Herbert Addo, who assembled the crème de le crème in the AILING (caps mine) local league straight to Sudan to showcase our limping league and to buttress the Confederation of African Football’s decision to half our slots in the inter-club competitions, African Champions League and Confederation Cup.

3. Coach David

Duncan, after the Sudanese had grabbed a late winner in the first leg of qualification towards London 2012, decided then to invite foreign players to his squad that went to Sudan to play in the second leg, but all of that was as it turned out; too little too late.

4. Then in the same Olympic qualifiers at female level, Kenya taught Coach Anthony Edusei and his queens why football was gradually becoming a game that was played on the field and with little influence relative to past glories.

In short, the Black Queens were given a bitter royal treat and of course, it sure was one that was expected, wasn’t it? At least to me it was.

5. To the straw that broke the camel’s back, Coach Orlando Wellington and his boys could not, try as they did admittedly to equal the feat that Ghana attained two years ago in Rwanda as African Champions and onward to Egypt to conquer the world.

So with these five gentlemen being by far the best personnel by way of technical acumen, one begins to wonder whatever guts they leave staunch local coach advocates as myself with, whenever and vacancy for a technical head is available.

That is not to suggest in the least that I would back down on that position especially so, for as long as the Sellas Tetteh sterling record of 2009 still stands.

MANAGEMENT (GFA)

From promises of the team being given all the necessary support to heavenly assurances that bonuses would be paid et al; I think the Ghana Football Association (GFA); should they not pause and ask why things are falling apart?

Strangely enough, just before the Satellites ‘final hurrah’ against Cameroon, GFA vice president, Fred Pappoe, plays the defensive role of decoupling the ill fortunes of national teams from the GFA, as difficult as a rastaman against Bob Marley.

Kwesi Nyantakyi, undoubtedly has done a lot for the game as president but at some point, events as they are panning out would ruin his work of several years as FA boss.

The Black Stars may be riding on a high but the future of the team looks bleakly frightening, something must be done and very quick.

Shaban Barani ALphaalfarsenal@yahoo.com

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