Today Sports takes a look at the senior national team, the Black Stars of Ghana that brought the country so much shame and agony at the ongoing FIFA World Cup finals.
The entire Ghanaian population both within and abroad have really become wild and furious with the men’s national team as the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign went horribly and distastefully sour.
Barely one week after Ghana’s early exit from the world’s most prestigious football showpiece was confirmed by painful 2-1 loss to Portugal in Brasilia, some players at the centre of the messy storm that plagued the team’s camp have already been pushed off the cliff.
On Saturday morning when the news filtered in that Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah and Joseph Yamin – former Minister and deputy of Ministry of Sports respectively – had been moved from their respective posts, many Ghanaians didn’t see it much of a surprise as they played a massive role in Ghana’s disgraceful act in Brazil.
Perhaps, the axe should swing much lower.
For the intended removal and subsequent restoration process to be efficient and thorough, the team itself should be chopped and changed.
Already, two of the alleged recalcitrant players; Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Ali Muntari have been expelled from the team although head coach, James Kwesi Appiah, believed their expulsion can be temporary if those players mend their ways.
Yet if the fall-out from the tournament is anything to go by, quite a few others – misguided, selfish and ill-mannered as the emerging reports have portrayed them – should also join Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng in walking the plank, with the remainder, now distinct from the chaff, forming the core of a new Black Stars; one in which a spirit of respect and selflessness will prevail.
For the record, such a thing has happened before in some countries. Four years ago in South Africa, France encountered similar.
Theirs was indeed worse; a full-blown mutiny that proved a messy sideshow to the whole 2010 World Cup experience. Striker Nicolas Anelka, like Muntari and Boateng, had been dismissed for alleged insubordination, leaving the team distraught and incapable of producing any meaningful displays.
High-profile as his case was, however, the former Arsenal man wasn’t the only troublemaker whom France coach, Raymond Domenech, had to deal with it. There were a few more and, after a reasonably unlucky tournament, these player were temporarily expelled from the team.
In lieu of these – notably Patrice Evra, Franck Ribéry, Jérémy Toulalan and, of course, Anelka [who had since retired, anyway] – the FFF (French football’s governing body) handed opportunities to the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi, Mamadou Sakho, Moussa Sissoko, and Karim Benzema.
With a rebuilding of new French team in mind – stocked with a fresher, hungrier and infinitely more committed generation of French footballers- commenced the task of which Les Bleus continues to reap at the ongoing Mundial.
Should Ghana decide against such a course, however, it certainly wouldn’t be for want of available talent. For starters, members of the sterling Black Satellites class that distinguished themselves at last year’s U20 World Cup, with the likes of Clifford Aboagye, Eric Ofori Antwi, Baba Rahman, Frank Acheampong, Kennedy Ashia, and Ebenezer Assifuah – could be a formidable nucleus.
Then there are also the lesser known but very quality foreign-based Black Stars hopefuls queuing up for the opportunity to defend the nation’s colours at the highest level.
The required steel and experience would be sourced from the remnant of the current Stars’ set-up after the recommended overhaul.
Give or take a handful of the best on the domestic scene, and Ghana should have a fairly solid team capable of taking on the World any day.
Ghana needs a team that wouldn’t hold the country to ransom when it matters most and make it a subject of international ridicule.
But rather, a team that won’t use the country’s resources as personalized goldmines and act like a bunch of spoilt brats when, for some reason, those ridiculously high financial needs aren’t yet met.
A team whose players would be less inclined to disrespect the coach (or any figure of authority, for that matter) simply because they earn more on a weekly basis. A team that Ghanaians can look at with pride and exclaim “…ah, this is ours!”