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Opinions of Friday, 27 October 2017

Columnist: Arthur Kobina Kennedy

The exit of Starlets from FIFA U17 World Cup

The Black Starlets were sent packing at the quarter-final stage of the above and the pundits are in full bloom about what it means to the future of Ghana soccer. The answer is very little.

Citi FM sports' Daniel Koranteng was right that there was too much negativity in the reviews. Then he went on to join the naysayers by repeating some popular fallacies.

First, he asserted that youth football is a major contributor to senior football and cited Barcelona's La Masia and Germany's success in 2014 at the World cup. The truth is that of the 4 most decorated teams at the Youth national level-- Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana and Mexico, only Brazil has won at the senior level and been a consistent force.

Next, Mr. Koranteng blames our local "poor league" for our woes. It may be so but the Brazilians have a league they have been complaining about for years but it has not prevented them from being a major force. On the other hand, the English Premier league has been touted as the best in the world for years even while England sits firmly with the unheralded teams of world soccer. Nobody worth his salt looks at the EPL and quakes at England!

Finally, he laments the "system of transition ". Who would dispute that looking at Adiyiah?

But that too is not a settled argument. Of the Brazilian side that conquered the world at the Youth level in 2003, not one went on to stardom for the senior team. The Argentine generation that took the world by storm with Messi has not won one major tournament. And the Youth coaches of Brazil never saw Gabriel Jesus coming.

The lessons here are two

First, the youth tournaments only tell us of youth players we know who may go on to stardom.

Second, we cannot name our senior team’s years in advance. Just ask coach Scolari who named his starting 11 for the 2014 world cup one year in advance and led Brazil to humiliation by Germany.

Let the boys play but let us keep an open mind.

Arthur K