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Opinions of Friday, 27 November 2009

Columnist: Appiah, Papa

Let’s Go for it Boys! – Ghana to Win World Cup

In the history of mankind, great deeds have been achieved when least expected. The ability of the human spirit to transcend expectation and soar over the horizons cannot be underestimated. And so as our dear Black Stars start to prepare for the world cup, Ghanaians call on them to remember, that nothing is impossible, if only we believe. They have a responsibility. A responsibility to help sever the psychological shackles of colonialism, which has so often, impaired our development as a nation and as a people. The very warped mentality that others are simply better than us and we have no prayer competing.

Let others underestimate us at their own peril. We are a proud nation and a royal people. We are the sons of Yaa Asantewaa, inspired by the indomitable spirit of Shaka the Zulu. We shall attack when the enemy least expects and return in glory, marching to the sounds of atenteben, and hoisted aloft the shoulders of our proud people. Let’s go for it boys.

The lizard that fell from the oyoko tree, said, that if no one would praise him, he would praise himself. And we shall praise ourselves without the slightest hint of shame. This is Ghana we are talking about –the Ghana of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and all our great leaders long gone, the Ghana of CK Gyamfi, Addo Odamtey, Osei Kofi, Robert Mensah. and Baba Yara.

We are four times winners of the African Cup of Nations, two times winners of the FIFA under 17 world cup, the first African winner of the FIFA under 20 world cup and bronze medallist at the Olympic games. We are one senior world cup win away from having a better footballing pedigree than England, Spain, Portugal, Holland, France and many of the so called advanced countries with all the resources at their disposal. Let’s go for it boys!

Let’s go for it, for we have come together this far. We have reached the cross roads and there is no turning back. Hand in hand, we shall traverse the storms as we head towards the light at the end of the channel. Throughout history, underdogs have triumphed in adversity. In 1974, Mohammed Ali, faced with the unenviable task, at the tail end of his career, of dethroning the young, strong and apparently invincible George Foreman had to summon his most inner spirit and reserves of strength and determination for the battle.

Preparing for the fight was no child’s play. In his own words, he rustled with the alligator and tussled with the whale. He handcuffed lightening and threw thunder in jail. He murdered a rock and injured a stone. He hospitalized a brick and made medicine sick. That is Ali for you, but the message is clear, he left nothing to chance. And the result was a famous victory in the Rumble in the Jungle that shocked the world.

Milo, my dear Milo. Which idiot said you can’t stand up to Fabio Capello? Who said the only brilliant coaches in the world are the famous ones we know of? Talent and skill are important but a modicum of luck and being at the right place at the right time also helps. Even the great Alex Ferguson came within a hair’s breath of being sacked from Manchester United in 1990, after a string of poor results. But for a goal scored by Mark Robins in a 1-0 FA Cup third round win against Nottingham Forest in Jan 1990, many believe that Ferguson would have lost his job as United manager. Ferguson survived, of course, and went on to build a dynasty at Old Trafford that has lasted over twenty years.

Brian Clough was a virtually unknown coach who took Derby County from the bottom of the then English second division to become champions in the first division and subsequent semi finalists in the European cup. He was later to lead a small provincial English club, Nottingham Forest, against all the odds, to back- to- back European Cup championship triumphs. When asked who he thought the best English coach was, he admitted that he was not sure, but felt he was in the top one. Such was the confidence of the man.

So Milo, this is your opportunity to shine to the world, and when the time comes, twenty million Ghanaians will be with you in spirit as you stand on the touchline, looking into the eyes of Fabio Capello. Have no fear. Be brave; be strong, for God is on our side. We are a blessed nation.

And we are not going to get a better chance, for many years, to triumph. This is a world cup being played on African soil, where the ghosts of all our brave forebears murdered by the wicked invaders, will rise to fight for us. We can count on the support of our brothers, and as the Satellites showed in Egypt, home support can take us a long way.

Let’s go for it boys because man for man, you are among the best in the world. Michael Essien, you are one of the best midfielders in the world. Even the great Stephen Gerald vaporizes into thin air at the very sight of you. You are a leader on the pitch. You have to lead off the pitch as well. Stephen Appiah, Ghanaians fasted and prayed and God has rewarded your humility at the right time. When you regain full match fitness, there is no midfielder in the world that can stand up to you. Sulley, Insha Allao, the best left foot in the business. The three of you form an impregnable midfield barrier that can hold its own against any team. The youngsters like Annan and Asamoah are there to give a hand when your weary legs give way. Who said we have no depth.

Amoah, you are an intelligent striker and a very respectful guy off the pith. On the pitch, however, you have to roar like a lion and tear into the Robert Carlos of this world. You can apologize after the match. Gyan, this is your time to shine and prove Ghanaians wrong. You are doing it in the French league and are going to do it for your nation. Paintsil, Addo, the Rock, Jonathan Mensah, Adiyah, the Ayew brothers, Laryea Kingston, Dramani, your nation summons you to duty.

Together, we shall defend the red, gold green and the black star. We shall rustle with the alligator and tussle with the whale, handcuff lightening and throw thunder in jail, and in the end, against all the odds, we shall bring the world cup home, one warm July night, in 2010.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

Papa Appiah Lexeve@live.com