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Opinions of Saturday, 4 February 2017


Open letter to Ghanaians about Black Stars

For the umpteenth time, Ghana feel the need to do a holistic review of its football after another near miss at the AFCON.
For the umpteenth time, people were quick to point out problems rather than find solutions.
For the umpteenth time, players and the technical team were singled out for underperforming

But the biggest question: What have we done?

On this note,
Dear Ghanaian citizen,
Our wait for another AFCON trophy has been extended. For me and a vast majority of Ghanaians, we have not seen the Black Stars winning a major trophy. As a matter of fact any national team which has represented Ghana the nation at international events. The Under 20 class of 2009 are our focal point till date but Sellas Tetteh’s winning team are gradually beginning to phase out because age is beginning to catch up with them.

On 7th January 2017, our dear president urged us to be citizens and not spectators and this is applicable in every context in our quest to dominate football and we must start from now. This 2017 AFCON in particular could potentially be a blessing in disguise and push us to go back to basics
The proverbial “go back to the drawing board” has suffered greatly on the lips of football administrators and it is about time we move to the drawing board as citizens. But before that, we must appreciate that facts that mistakes happen for lessons to be learned.

The 2014 debacle will surely leave a sour taste in our mouth but if we don’t move on from there, we will accrue more pain to what we are currently holding on to. The reaction after the defeats to Cameroon in 2017 and Ivory Coast in 2015 are clear indications the team is still followed even though people will deny it.
Thankfully we have AFCON finalists Egypt, who have beaten us twice on a trot, and Cameroon to take a cue from. Egyptian football went into deep sleep after 2010 failing to make the AFCON on three straight occasions and being battered 6-1 by Ghana in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Cameroon were equally as shambolic as Ghana in Brazil. Their players refused to board a plane to Brazil prior to the tournament because of a bonus row, put up one of the worst displays at the tournament, players fought amongst themselves and yet, 3 years on, the coach can boast of 23 players in camp.

They have accepted their fault as a team, corrected their faults if not entirely and had the support of the public.
Our jobs as citizens is to offer maximum support and offer constructive criticisms. Criticisms cannot be done without in football.
Nothing stopped us from sending Razak Briamah a facebook message or tweet saying: “ Razak, you could have commanded your area better or you could have shouted on John Boye more firmly.” What we have done in essence is kill two birds with one stone. The keeper has been to understand he could have done better but he has also been given motivation and solutions to do better in subsequent attempts.

Egypt, not for the first time, have shown us that a working league in your own country can fetch you laurels. Not so long ago, Habib Mohammed of King Faisal and Shilla Illiasu of Asante Kotoko starting for Ghana in a World Cup tie against Czech Republic. We had Daniel Coleman, William Tiero and Issah Ahmed playing instrumental roles in our qualification to World Cup 2006.

We as citizens must appreciate our local league and give it much attention. We need to treat the league pretty similar to how a man will treat his wife in the early days with love. The current crop of Black Stars players had most of its stars featuring in this league. Talent has never and will never be a problem for Ghana but the management and how to harness these talents is our bane.

It is open secret the current Ghana Football Association of no clue of how to run a league because it has been on the downward spiral. A club of the ilk of Hearts of Oak cannot attract coaches or pay its monthly arrears. Most fans cannot name 10 players of Hearts and Kotoko combined and we want these players to play in the national team?

We as citizens can push for the development of grassroots football once again. Stephen Appiah and Samuel Kuffour were all products of colts football and we can unearth more. Corporate Ghana can take sponsoring of colts football as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. Our reward? These young stars will win us an AFCON.

We as citizens must demand more from our managers of football. What happens to the Under 20’s and Under 17’s. We deserve to know the succession plan after these teams are formed. As it stands, two generations might potentially go to waste. Sellah Tetteh’s class of 2013 which had Ebenezer Assifuah and Clifford Aboagye stand on the same pitch and podium as the World’s Most Expensive Player Paul Pogba as well as the class of 2015 who had Yaw Yeboah.

Sitting on the fence will fetch us heartbreak after heartbreak. It is about time we all stand up to be counted and return the love, passion and national unity we used to enjoy when Ghana is playing. We are falling way behind.
Yours faithfully