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Opinions of Thursday, 20 January 2022

Columnist: Yakubu H. Yakubu

Going forward, what should Ghana or the FA do?

Black Stars exited the 2021 AFCON tournament after losing to Comoros Black Stars exited the 2021 AFCON tournament after losing to Comoros

As a child, I used to watch Ghana matches at Hon. Alhaji Abubakari A. Attori's house (DCE for Savelugu in 2000-2008). Ghana's game used to flow, and the players played with passion. The sound of Ghana's national anthem before matches was always inspiring and brought out the milk of patriotism in every Ghanaian.

This made every child in Ghana dream of playing for the Ghana national team. Abedi Pele played with passion even though they did not win the AFCON. We could not also qualify for the FIFA World cup, but this could be attributable to ill luck. We had the best team at that time in Africa.

Today Black Stars is unattractive to extent that players born in Ghana refuse call-ups (Afena Gyan, and Salisu Mohammed)

Ok, now what should we do?

The FA needs to scout very well, let's get formidable squads from all the levels. We must work hard so that these teams qualify for the big stage parties;

Black Starlets U-17
Black Satellites U-20
Black Meteors U-23

These teams above will help us build cohesion and avoid inviting players who have never played together in their lives. In the recent past, we have had a formidable black stars team because most of the players played together at different levels at juvenile. So, they knew each other.

In the 1995 FIFA U-17 World cup squad, we had Stephen Appiah.
Appiah later played with Asamoah Gyan, Derek Boateng, Baffour Gyan, John Paintsil, John Mensah, Razak Pinpong, and Emma Pappoe at the 2003 Olympics for the U-23 Black Meteors. (mind you, we have never qualified for the Olympics again)

In the 1997 FIFA U-17 World cup squad, we had Laryea Kingston who later played with the likes of Michael Essien, Derek Boateng, Stephen Appiah for the black stars.

In the 1999 FIFA U-17 World cup squad, we had Michael Essien and Razak Pinpong, who later played together for Black Stars.

In the 1999 FIFA U-20 World squad, we had Stephen Appiah, Laryea Kingston, and Baffour Gyan Hamza Mohammed playing together.

In 2001 we did not qualify for the party. But we qualified and played in the FIFA U-20 championship. We had Sulley Muntari playing with Razak Pinpong, Derek Boateng, John Mensah, John Paintsil, Michael Essien, Emmanuel Pappoe.

In 2003 we did not qualify for both parties(u-17 and u-20)

In 2005 FIFA U-17 World cup we had Wakaso Mubarak. But we did not qualify for the U-20 party.

In the 2007 FIFA World cup, we had Ransford Osei, Daniel Opare, Abeiku Quansah(who was tipped to be Ghana's, David Beckham).

In the 2009 FIFA World cup, we had Ransford Osei, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Opare, Samuel Inkoom, Agyemang Opoku, Andre Ayew, Agyemang Badu, Adiyah.

In 2011 we did not qualify for both parties(u-17 and u-20)

In 2013 FIFA U-17 we did not qualify but we qualified for the FIFA U-20 and we had Baba Rahman and Frank Acheampong.

In 2015 we did not qualify for the u-17 party but we qualified for the u-20 FIFA WC, none of them made it to Black Stars, and even at the top level, only Atizigi was the goalkeeper.

In 2017 FIFA U-17, we had Gideon Mensah and Mohammed Kudus whose representation in the Black Stars and performance have been very erratic(poor performer at the world cup qualify and lack of representation at the AFCON due to injury was never going to be the Messiah. We were just tickling ourselves). We did not qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

In 2019 we did not have a show of either party (U-17 and U-20). We need to brace up for the heartbreaks going forward from the black stars.

In 2021 we qualified but for COVID-19 no show of tournament. We have Abdul-Fatawu Issahaku and Daniel Banieh(We are hopeful for the two guys).

Therefore, 2005 Black stars were super because it was an amalgamation of the above. So we qualified for World Cup.

Squad:

Richard Kingston, Laryea Kingston, John Mensah, John Paintsil, Pappoe, Sulley Muntari, Essien, Derek Boateng, Baffour Gyan, Asamoah Gyan, Hamza Mohammed playing together.

In the 2006 world cup, we had a super squad:

Richard Kingston, Laryea Kingston, John Mensah, John Paintsil, Pappoe, Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari, Essien, Derek Boateng, Baffour Gyan, Asamoah Gyan playing together.

In 2010 World cup:

Richard Kingston, Laryea Kingston, John Mensah, John Paintsil, Pappoe, Sulley Muntari, Essien, Derek Boateng, Baffour Gyan, Asamoah Gyan, Stephen Appiah, Dede Ayew, Adiyah, Agyemang Badu, Wakaso, Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Rabiu Mohammed playing together.

In 2014 World Cup:

Richard Kingston, Laryea Kingston, John Mensah, John Paintsil, Pappoe, Sulley Muntari, Essien, Derek Boateng, Baffour Gyan, Asamoah Gyan. Dede Ayew, Adiyah, Agyemang Badu, Wakaso, Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Rabiu Mohammed playing together.

Current squad and ad-hoc team(they have not played together at any juvenile, they may be good but they may need time to be in sync)

Goalkeepers: Joseph Wollacott (Swindon Town, England), Abdul Manaf Nurudeen (Eupen, Belgium), Richard Attah (Hearts of Oak), Lawrence Ati Zigi (St. Gallen, Switzerland)

Defenders: Andy Yiadom (Reading FC, England), Philemon Baffuor (Dreams FC), Baba Abdul Rahman (Reading FC, England), Gideon Mensah (Girondins de Bordeaux, France), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Alexander Djiku (Strasbourg FC, France), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA), Khalid Abdul Mumin (Vitoria de Guimaraes, Portugal)

Midfielders: Baba Iddrissu (Real Mallorca, Spain), Edmund Addo (Sherif Tiraspol, Moldova), Thomas Teye Partey (Arsenal, England), Mubarak Wakaso (Shenzhen, China), Mohammed Kudus (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Daniel-Kofi Kyere (St. Pauli, Germany), David Agbana (Real Tamale United), Salis Abdul Samed (Clermont Foot, France)

Forwards: Abdul Fatawu Issahaku (Dreams FC), Samuel Owusu (Al-Fayha, Saudi Arabia), Kamal Deen Suleymana (Rennes, France), Dede Ayew (Al Sadd, Qatar), Joseph Paintsil (Genk, Belgium), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace, England), Richmond Boakye Yiadom (Beitar Jerusalem, Israel), Maxwell Abbey Quaye (Great Olympics), Benjamin Tetteh (Malatyaspor, Turkey)

We were therefore built to fail because we did not take our juveniles seriously, we got drowned in the senior level party. Future Black Stars representation was going to be just an ad-hoc kind of thing. We called players who have not played together.

They have never played together at the juveniles which is very essential because we can never have enough time for preparation for very big tournaments considering the kind of players we call up. They trade in Europe.

I remember when we won the 2009 FIFA World Cup for the U-20 and at the same time doing well at the national level with the Black Stars, the English media took a cue from Ghana. They were asking themselves what they were not doing right using Ghana as a case study. They had strengthened the youth level football and the outcome was what we saw at the European tournament.

Things that have affected the Black stars

*Number 12 has helped to destroy the football faith in Ghana our passion. Even when we win against underdogs like South Africa they believe we bribed to win.

*The behaviour of the Black Stars players in the 2014 World cup. This has made many Ghanaians shun the support they had for them. We used to pray and supplicate for the Black Stars but they proved unpatriotic in the 2014 World cup though we had a good squad.

I for one in 2005 fasted, I remember doing this with Gadafi because we wanted Ghana to beat South Africa and qualify for her first world cup in 2006. May Allah forgive Yakubu Mohammed Alidu Zambanga. He and Samatan Killer of Radio Savannah said we needed to pray hard to beat SA and those who could fast should fast and we did. For the Love of the game.

We need strong teams for the

Black Starlets U-17
Black Satellites U-20
Black Meteors U-21
Black Meteors U-23

To have a strong Black Stars.