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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Columnist: asempanews.com

Ghana just like any football nation; PLB Awards prove so

The awards night for Ghana’s football’s top flight division took place over the weekend with an air of expectation who was going to be named footballer of the year. Let’s face it Dreams FC Captain Abdul Bashiru never stood a chance of making it to the podium this past Friday. Those expecting a repeat of Jerome Boateng’s remarkable German Footballer of the Year win for his remarkable 2015-2016 ahead of Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski were left disappointed.

Not because he wouldn’t have been a worthy winner of the award had he won but his outstanding season ended without an individual award mainly due to where football on planet earth stands right now. For no matter how good a defender is, it is becoming increasingly impossible for player in such positions to top their colleagues in advanced areas on the pitch. Placed in the same category with top scorer of the just ended Ghana Premier League season Latif Blessing and the third highest goal scorer Kwasi Donsu was bound in any realm to end with Bashiru losing to either man.

Blessings 17 goal tally for the season proved to be a blessing for Liberty Professionals in the team’s fight against relegation as Donsu’s free kicks and tricks were to Medeama in the side’s African campaign. Awarding Blessing was no surprise. Same way Donsu scooping the top prize would have been. However, the Awards night showed Ghana bucking the “goals is everything” trend in global football now. All the saves from goalkeepers, all the game winning tackles and assists from players other than strikers go unnoticed when awards are being factored.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable season has won the Portugese win the Champions League, Euro Championship, Club World Cup and more importantly for this conversation the Balon D’Or. For the media men who voted, his achievements with both club and country was paramount in their decision to name him the best player. But Portugal’s maiden trophy was achieved with Ronaldo playing an underwhelming role. Sure, he scored crucial goals to get the side to the promise land but that wouldn’t have been possible without the outstanding contribution of Pepe.

Take away the goals; what did Ronaldo really do that made him standout and a top runner for the award. However, Pepe only made the best XI of the tournament but top goal scorer Antoine Griezmann earning the top player award. It gets worse and more transparent for all to see after Ronaldo bagged was named top player at the just ended Club World Cup in Japan. Grabbing a hat trick was icing on the cake for him to win the best player after all everyone likes to see Ronaldo run away celebrating another goal ready to rocket midway through the air and land with a thunderous split.

But many forget prior to Ronaldo’s brace in extra time, his performance was less than impressive at best yet a wonderful Benzema showing went unnoticed. Maybe just maybe Bashiru’s chances were damaged by Dreams demotion to the lower tier following a long protracted decision on a case with Tema Youth regarding the eligibility of a player. Can you imagine the PR glitch awarding the nation’s most prestigious award to a player heading to Division One? Well that wouldn’t have changed squat as I can firmly beat my chest to announce Bashiru would be long gone before the GN Bank Division One 2016-2017 season kicks off as has become customary of Ghana’s top performing players.

Despite the aforementioned certainty of Bashiru’s impending sale to a foreign club-Dreams FC for the record have not hid their desire to sell their prized assets-, the Premier League Board must have thought of the ripple effects Bashiru’s club affiliation would have caused had he been given the award. Unfortunately for Bashiru, Ghana through it’s Football Association is doing everything possible to be like the Germany’s, England’s and Spain’s even to the point of aligning the league to that of the European continent’s.

Based on recent happenings in the league- seemingly endless legal tussles between clubs including the aforementioned spat- Ghana’s Football Association is sweating to maintain this system. Last season’s campaign delayed and the immediate campaign was due to kick off on December 18 but a host of factors, some not the FA’s fault, have resulted in the league’s 2016-2017 season’s postponement. In adopting to Europe’s ways, Ghana has taken up its mentor’s appreciation of shine and end product ahead of what goes into the end product.

The days of John Terry being named best player in the English Premier League are over. Boateng’s win is rare; so rare the German player of Ghanaian descent was the first defender to win the award since Jurgen Kohler won it in 1997. The player who last won the award, Manchester City’s attacker Kevin De Bruyne. Bashiru shouldn’t feel hard done by what happened at the Banquet Hall; its just Ghana eating everything whole from Europe.