You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2009 06 21Article 164083

Sports Features of Sunday, 21 June 2009

Source: abass ahmed

Quit the player lambasting thing!

Few have decided to use most part of their lives to serve our country. The majority have decided to sit back only to drag our course aback, some two decades rearwards. Poor thing! Ask yourself this: In what way have I helped propel or elevate the name of my country on the international front? Let those with answers stand clear so they get counted!

It is disheartening to say, that Ghana abounds with the notoriety of denying its heroes a well-deserved honor for their services. And, alas, much more saddening to reckon: A nation that does not honor its heroes is not worth dying for, as goes an adage.

Having grown amongst older siblings who took soccer as career, as well as played the game myself at the colts level, I find it abundantly unbearable to hear the ordinary soccer fan who cannot even read a game of soccer, sit somewhere in the open or in the studios of the numerous local radio stations around, dissing out loads of insult and destructive criticisms unto our soccer players. I have watched my brother play on television whiles another fan slams and lambasts him right under my nose. I have read destructive comments about him in some of the then Kotoko-owned tabloids and newspapers. And it does not present any pleasant atmosphere, I bet you!

During the 2008 African Nations Cup, it was Asamoah Gyan at the receiving end. People criticized him for squandering begging chances, forgetting he of course dearly loves to score more than the fans would like him to. Yea, if you have ever played soccer, you know very well that you will want to perform more than others want you to. Anybody who knew Asamoah in his day at Liberty knew it was not that Asamoah at the Nations Cup. But Ghanaians would not allow him the serene atmosphere to find his true self. Poor thing! I thought as fans, all we gotta do is to shut up and rally behind the men on the field as long as the technical directors deem any player fit to start a game! The Gyan brothers as a reaction, threatened to quit the camp of the starts, right? Yesterday, it was Stephen Appiah on the hummer-him trail. The all-serving skipper had been at the end of some hefty punches of the bad-mouthed fans, criticizing why he enjoys constant call-ups when he still is unattached to any club. Funny stuff indeed! But that is Ghana, eleven players, twenty million or so coaches and technical directors! I thought this is the time capito needs us. This is the time he needs Ghana behind him to push up once more. I thought as fans, we should be ready to payback our all-serving captain by making him understand we still believe in his ability and leadership. I thought as fans we should let capito know all is not done yet and that he still has a lot of football in him. When all the worlds seem to shun Appiah, I thought Ghana was the only place of respite and solace. Alas, he came unto his own and his own received him not! Poor thing!

Today, it is Sulley Muntari on the lips of the bad-mouthed. I bet Essien was only lucky not to have been injured during the FA Cup final duel with Everton. Honestly, I jumped to the ceiling of my room in jubilation when Guus Hiddink gestured to rest him during the last half of the game. I was like: God has saved your butt buddy or Ghanaians would aim at your head! Do we actually appraise or measure the amount of sacrifice and service these men continue to do our nation? Most of us just watch the game, failing to notice certain important issues and circumstances surrounding our game days. Do we remember Sulley’s reaction after hitting that game-winning thunderbolt against Guinea in the CAN opener? Go watch the clip again. While Paintsil and co were doing their kangaroo dance around him, he stood still, watching the fans straight into the eye, on the brink of crying, telling Ghanaians: I have saved your bluffs! You could see that sense of relief and dedication to our course of the much touted “host and win” brag in the midfielder’s eyes. And could you read Essien’s gesture when he got the equalizer against Nigeria? Yea these men are saving our bluffs, let’s acknowledge and appreciate it!

Any objective fan that did not got carried away by our somewhat fortuitous win in Mali knew our midfield lacks that bite, the one that beat the Czechs and the Americans, that midfield that kept Brazil and its stars chasing our shadows in Germany. Yea the one that gave mighty Ivory Coast and Nigeria sound bashings. But the fouled-mouth ones would think we have got permanent replacements for the withdrawn and injured men. Funny stuff! Many have started hinting at the fact that the new ‘patriotic’ guys have come to replace the ‘unpatriotic’ and unfit ones for good. Very unfortunate how myopic our memories are!! Instead of encouraging the injured and unfit ones while welcoming the new guns on board, we are rather getting divisive.

When Andres Iniesta graduated from La Masia and had his first training with the Barca first team, Josep Guardiola, then the skipper of the side whispered to Xavi Hernandez that the youngster’s showing on the field was frightening, and had made him (Guardiola) consider a premature retirement. Guardiola did open the doors for the loud-mouthed to hint at his early replacement but none amongst the Barca fraternity ever touched on that topic. Then finally, the Catalan magician was handed his debut in a 2002 Champions League match by Loius van Gaal for the injured Xavi. Iniesta stood in well with a man-of-the match showing but nobody hinted at the fact that Xavi’s position was under threat. The Barca camp rather deliberated on incorporating the two together. At the moment, Iniesta is playing the finest football on earth (in fact he is the best in my opinion), alongside Cesc Fabregas but nobody in Spain is suggesting the positions of Marcos Sena, Xavier Hernandez and Xabi Alonso in the Spain side are under threat. The wise men in the Spanish Camp are rather seriously thinking of incorporating all their ammunitions at the arsenal for glory in South Africa; enjoying their services while they last! Iniesta and Fabregas may be on top of their games but they are behind Xabi, Sena and Alonso in terms of experience so they need to play with them to catch up. Just watch how Spain will dominate world football in the years to come!

Now is the time! Let us honor our service men. Let us encourage the growing youngsters while offering a helping hand to the fallen and falling, to rise once more. Let us use all the ammunitions whilst they last. It is the world cup time again. The under twenties, and the big guns…now playing!