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Sports Features of Friday, 18 October 2013

Source: Ransford Frempong Peprah

Should KP Boateng be accepted into the Stars community?

(A case between the People of the Republic of Ghana and KPB)

Football has been the heartbeat of the nation and Ghana’s’ favorite sport since the British introduced it to our shores in the heydays of colonial rule. Fortune constantly smiles on us as our National Black Stars always among the best on the continent, a source of pride and immeasurable joy for us the teeming football enthusiasts. Because of these laurels, our national players are usually hailed as heroes, especially those who have garnered trophies for the nation.

Chalking such laudable feats in the realm of football often catapult these stars into the pantheon of “little gods”; of course it depends upon one’s religion, and one’s environment and from what perspective we see these role models for them to earn such accolades. Diego Amando Maradona, from Argentina serves as a prime example of how football can pivot one into the status of a living legend.

This is the cardinal reason why national heroes or role models are obliged to behave, talk, and act with decorum taking cognizant of the fact that, even though their elevated status comes with privileges albeit it also comes with responsibilities. A national hero ought to speak guided with facts because of the quantum of impact his or her words carry over those who eulogize him. A National hero ought to set his or herself from the pack, guides his/her words carefully and most importantly speak with finesse with his/her speech laden with sound reasoning.

Parading national heroes who have shown in the limelight in Ghana, this exclusive club consists of both past and present footballers among whom, the name Mohammed Polo easily rings a tone. Whether a football fan was born and thus witnessed the praised showered upon that name, POLO, or wasn’t born by then but came and heard of it later, it does not change the fact that the name POLO is a household name in Ghana associated with remarkable prowess chalked in the annals of Ghanaian Football. In brevity, people adore the name and thus tend to follow anything that comes along with that name. This invariably means, the words of Polo carry much weight in the world of Ghanaian football; thus most fans endeared to this hero wouldn’t even bother to find out whether his words are true or palpably false. The reason is simple, it is from a credible footballer thus there is no need to ascertain the truth in the matter in question.

In the Court of Law, a past record of misdeeds is often used in raking more penalties on the Accused but the length of the sentence for the Accused is not solely premised on this factor unless additional substantiated facts have been presented to buttress the accusation.

Let me explain further. When one falls foul of the law and the case is brought before a competent Court of Jurisdiction for judgment, facts are the first indispensable exhibits to be presented in order for the case to be judged. If the Accuser is subsequently found guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, a sentence that fit the crime is then duly administered.

After the event elapses, a past record could and should not be used as a pretext to add more sentences to the already-given sentence the Accused is obliged to serve.

Having substantiated on this part and presumably being well understood let us move on to the main tenets of the case pending before us. On the 8th of October 2012, the legend Mohammed Polo accused the Black Stars and Schalke 04 midfielder, Kevin Prince Boateng, with the sordid charge of been unapologetically unpatriotic. Not only that, the former Black Stars and Accra Hearts of Oak winger went on to suggest that Kevin Prince Boateng should be booted out from the Black Stars completely .Indeed the specific word he used was “SACK”.

Is Polo’s accusation just? Does Polo has authentic facts to prop up his case? Without facts to buttress his accusation, Polo might have be in haste to arrive at this seemingly premature conclusion. This unsubstantiated accusation, in the Court of Law, merits the classification of being an unjust allegation that borders on character assassination and personal vindictiveness.

Accusing a player or even anyone else without presenting hardcore facts but rather based on the player’s past record is unjustly bad smacking of shortsightedness. Polo assumed KPB didn’t want to play for his national team based on the players past record. The national hero, Polo, faulted the player without any recourse to the very merits and peculiarities of the case. In this scenario, Polo arguably has become a biased Judge. He judged KPB solely based on the player’s past disingenuous record but not based on facts he is privy to because he, Mohammed Polo, had none. Here are the facts in this case.

The whole world, with the possible exception of some Ghanaian fans and of course Polo, saw what happened to Kevin Prince Boateng on the 5th of October during the Bundesliga match between Schalke 04 and FC Augsburg. Schalke was down 1-0 before Kevin equalized in the 16th minute. At the 68th minute mark, KPB, then the play-maker for his club, was stretched off the field when the match was just 2-1 with Schalke leading.

Now, when we scrutinize KPB’s injury record for this year, we are told that he was injured on the 25th of March and subsequently recovered on the 2nd of April; however he came back to play 8 days later . We all know that at that time KPB hasn’t resumed playing for Ghana. In other words, he hadn’t submitted his letter for his returned to national duty.

We also discovered from his record that he got injured on the 18th of May and returned to duty on the 30th of May, which was 12 days later.

On the 22nd of August the player was injured once again; however in this instance, it took him only three days to fully recuperate. He returned to action on the 25th of August. By that time, Kevin had already submitted his reinstated letter to play for the National Team.

Therefore based on his record gleaned this year, KPB has been in and out of the playing field due to numerous injuries he unfortunately sustained. Zambia’s returned match at Kumasi took place on the 6th of September. Kevin showed up and during practice, prior to this decisive encounter, regrettably got knocked out. He was later examined by the Black Stars medical team and was ruled out from that match. Kevin Prince Boateng didn’t pack bag and baggage to leave, in spite of been ruled out.

Rather, he sat and supported his team like any patriotic player would have enthusiastically done. We tend to forget that it was the national medical team that examined him, not the medical team from his club lest we become swayed with concocted stories about antics supposedly by him to evade once more solemn national duty.

He got injured again on the 24th September during training session with his club, not the national team. This injury ruled him out of the club’s match on the following day which was the 25th September. Remarkably he was able to come back on time to participate in his club’s match on the 28th of September. In this match he played full time. On the 1st October, he played in the Champions League match against Basel. His last injury occurred on the 5th of October.

This was the match he couldn’t continue even though he had wanted to. This was the match indicated earlier in this article as he was eventually stretched off the field. He played only 68 minutes whilst his team led at the time by two goals to one.

With these facts lucidly presented before all, was Kevin at fault by sitting at the sideline during the match with Zambia? Was Kevin at fault for having excused himself from the first leg against Egypt even though he did present a medical report that attested that he wasn’t fit to play?

Let us take our minds back to the rantings of Polo.

According to Mohammed Polo, and I quote, “I have spoken about this boy for quite a long time now and it looks very clear that he (KP Boateng) is not patriotic,” Polo told XYZ sports.

Judging by the two strands of information at our disposal, and with the above statement from Polo, it is evident that Polo had already proclaimed his sentence upon KPB before the interview. The man had this notion in mind that the player, Kevin Prince Boateng, is not patriotic enough based on the player’s past albeit chequered relationship with the national team. If Polo hadn’t already made up his mind, he would have noticed that since the player issued his letter of reinstatement, he has exhibited some traits of genuine patriotism.

He was present at the match against Zambia in Kumai. He just couldn’t play. He was ruled out by a licensed medical doctor the country has haired to handle fitness cases akin to that of Kevin’s. With these facts before you, the jury, the citizens of the peaceful country, Ghana, there is only one question needs to be asked. Should Keven Prince Boateng, the defender in this case, be permitted to participate in his own country’s assignment or not?

The defensive’s counselor pause and will continue after recess.

Ransford Frempong Peprah

Football/Soccer Players’ Manager and Scout from Sports Management WorldWide (SMWW) Portland, OR. USA, London, UK