Soccer News of Monday, 5 September 2016
The once glamorous flagship brand of Ghana, the Black Stars, has surprisingly become a ‘problem child’ that many have not fancied being associated with in the past two years [after a disappointing 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil]. This perception was once again reinforced by the poor fan turn-out at Saturday’s Afcon qualifier (AQ) against Rwanda in Accra.
A brewing romance between two ‘lovers’; the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) has broken down because of lack of cordial working relations between the two institutions.
Once upon a time, Ghana’s [Black Stars] participation in various world or continental football tournaments, helped bridge political and social differences, while improving the economic welfare of the country.
But recent happenings within/around the team has threatened to scrape off the ‘blessing’ bit of the national brand’s existence, turning it into a ‘curse’ instead.
Many now hold [or have been made to] the impression that, the brand is draining national coffers, much to the detriment of other sports disciplines.
The Blacks Stars has become a tool of political manipulation, with some members of the two main political parties – the opposition New Patriotic Party and the incumbent National Democratic Congress – lambasting each other, at the least opportunity and, when it suits either party, over the brand’s management.
Now, I ask; do we, as a people, know the implications of the incessant crossfire if relations should deteriorate?
Or, was the setting up of the Presidential Commission, post-Brazil 2014, the root cause of the brand’s present unattractiveness?
Again, could the actions/inactions of politicians cause Ghana to be banned?
The answers to the aforementioned, I believe, lies in the following; that, the earlier the GFA and the MoYS reignited their ‘love affair’ the better it would be for all stakeholders involved.
Some blame may go to the team, but majority of Ghanaian football fans would not forgive them (GFA and MoYS) if the Black Stars extends the country’s 34-year trophy -less jinx at the 2017 Afcon. For me as a young journalist, who has not seen Ghana win a trophy, the Black Stars’ inability to annex next year’s Afcon trophy, makes our [possible] fourth successive appearance at the FIFA World Cup meaningless.
With Ghana’s opponents for the World Cup qualifiers busily fine-tuning ahead of the qualifiers next month, our (Ghana’s) inability to ‘find’ money to send scouts to match venues to monitor them is inconceivable. ‘I just can’t think far’ and I know you also can’t possibly identify any logical reasoning as being behind these recent happenings.
The draw on Saturday against the Amavubi of Rwanda in the last round of matches of the 2017 CAF Afcon qualifiers is just a reminder of the challenging times ahead of us, as the soul of the nation has been taken to the cleaners.
I hope one day, my script wouldn’t be used as a term of reference when finally, ‘things fall apart’, because we cannot afford to miss out on this global football fiesta in Russia come 2018.
Let’s wake from our slumber and face reality, let’s all put personal egos aside and work towards a common goal