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Opinions of Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Columnist: Asare, Noah

Repeating The Same Mistakes

Ghana is a country abundantly endowed with a lot of football talents. But despite our pride of being one of the giants of Africa, Ghana, especially our national senior football team the black stars has not won a single major trophy for decades.

The reasons for our denial of a touch of the African cup still remain an illusion. Ghana with all its pride of talents has missed the coveted trophy on many occasions, sometimes to teams we least expected to upset us. I think the time to have sat down and ascertain the cause of this trophy draught is long overdue.

As a football loving Ghanaian I have keenly followed the path we took to this end and have recognized some mistake which have always been repeated and always end up jeopardizing our fortunes. Principal among the reasons is the treatment we give to our past heroes.

There are many football legends in Ghana today we only remember by the joy they use to bring us in their prime. After their various contributions to our National team their names remain in the archives which are very seldom or in most cases never visited. If I am playing for the black stars today, I will look at what Ghana did to players like Tony Yeboah, Abedi Pele, Bentil, Jones Atuquayefio, Odartey Lamptey, Samuel Osei Kuffour, Odartey Lawson and a host of others to give up whatever I want to give for my country.

Or I will just watch the very present pasts like Agogo, Quincy Owusu Abayie, Hamza Mohammed, Cpt. Stephen Appiah (Tornado), Samuel Incoom, John Mensah and most likely John Paintsil. In as much as I admit that players don't last forever on the field I would not also hesitate to add that a reward system for all these players will be a major boost for those now (as we say in Ghana) "standing on their legs.

Some of these players made enormous sacrifices to Ghana football. At least I remember Former cpt. Stephen Appiah and how he held the black stars like a covetous asset he had inherited. As a little boy I operated a communication center in a suburb in Kumasi called Adui Nkwanta, Krofrom. And I recall an occasion when Tornado came to my shop to make a call. He called all the team members at that time until his phone had not credit. Then he called from my communication center to the tune of 350,000 cedis, an amount I could use two months to make with my calls from that business. I saw Him apparently kneeling down to beg players to forget their grievances and come home for a match.

After his so called "voluntary retirement" from national football assignments and his obvious struggle for a club he is obviously forgotten and left to his own fate. Some of the players on the field today know Appiah and the work he did for the black stars and any treatment meted on him will no doubt either moralize them or otherwise.

There has also always been this repetitive mistake of using players for qualifiers only to turn round and say the same players who qualified us for tournaments are not good enough for the tournament itself. The recent hyping of the coming back of Essien, the Ayew brothers and Kevin Prince Boateng are to me both stinky and unnecessary. It is not a boost for our team but only a disappointing and an ungrateful act that ends up killing any patriotism in our players. I think it does not necessarily make those hyped names come to put up their best, because they are virtually pampered, begged and kneeled down to, to come and play for a nation they claim to hail from and love which is absolutely unacceptable.

Playing for a club as we all know is purely on business basis. Players are paid and forced to give out their best, but when it comes to playing for a nation it is supposed to be based purely on patriotism and the sense of nationalistic love. I have never seen Balotelli's refusal to play for Ghana as a miss. I am rather happy because the guy has no any affection for the country. Playing for the black stars should be the soul decision of the player involved upon a simple invitation. This sending of delegations and meetings upon meetings is, excuse my word trash.

I vividly remember before went to South Africa for the world cup, one of the pivotal players in the qualifiers was Mathew Amoah who scored two goals in Sudan just like our captain did in our last match. But when it came to playing the tournament in South Africa he was nowhere to be found and has virtually not been featured in major Ghana matches till now.

The time to make it clear that those who struggle for the qualification have better chances for the tournament except in very serious cases is now. Don't get me wrong, players playing qualifiers can never anywhere on earth be the same to play the tournament, but apparently struggling to find others to replace them is a habit we have to avoid. Sometimes names does not win matches. Real Madrid had all the names, but a faceless Dortmund tormented them in the just ended Champions league. I can't even remember the name of the striker who scored the four goals against Real Madrid nor the name of their coach but that team made Real Madrid and Josè the 1 helpless. It is time to concentrate on building a team with a consistent nucleus with less regard to names and fame but with dedication and nationalism as a major mark of qualification.

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

Noah Asare

Stockstadt, Germany. Asare88@yahoo.com.