Black Stars – For How Long ? (1)

By Brig-Gen (Rtd) J. Odei
Opinion Kurt Okraku
Kurt Okraku

Oh, for how long will the Black Stars continue to subject Ghanaians to pain and embarrassment? Of all the sports in the world, football is the only game Ghanaians love with passion. Gone are the days when the streets of our cities, towns and villages turn into some kind of jamboree in the celebration of the Black Stars' victory.

The celebrations serve as unifying factor for the nation because they are not motivated by tribal or political sentiments.

On playing days, the streets are usually adorned with national colours, the sale and display of football paraphernalia and business flourishes for traders. With the Black Stars' miserable performances in recent times, all the beautiful scenes have vanished from the streets of our cities and towns and the businesses of traders in the field have collapsed.

The Black Stars, once the power house of African football, has now become the laughing stock of many nations.

Ghana won the AFCON Cup four times in 1963, 1965, 1978and 1982, and finished as runners-up five times in 1968, 1970, 1992, 2010 and 2015.

The performance of the Black Stars has been questionable for some time and the failure of the Football Authorities to take remedial measures over the years has brought the performance to this unacceptable level.

Today, looking at the standard of football of Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Senegal, and many others in the sub-Saharan region, it is very clear that if serious steps are not initiated now, Ghana may not even qualify for the next competitions.

We cannot continue to live in our past glory. Football is not a game of politics where money is paid, and the vote is cast. It is alleged that some money was rushed to Ivory Coast after the first defeat by Cape Verde to encourage the Stars, but it didn't work.

How much can GFA offer a player like Kudus who is on salary of £90,000 per week less bonuses? As a keen observer of the game, I observed that the Black Stars lacked stamina, speed, accuracy in passes and physical fitness. Ball control and dribbling were not the best and the coordination in the defence was very poor. Despite individual's qualities, team work was not good enough. Football is team work and building a good team demands good planning, the selection of dedicated, quality players and constant training.

The GFA hides behind the sacking of coaches and technical teams to cover its incompetence. Since 1982, the GFA has sacked 39 coaches, including the recent ones (since 2019), Chris Houghton, Otto Addo (resigned), CK Akonnor and Milovan.

All the recent coaches spent less than a year on the job and how can we blame them. Are they magicians? How many years have the GFA President, and his directors' been in office and what have they achieved? If there is the need to sack people, then the GFA President and its directors are the ones to be sacked. Ghana did not qualify from the group stage in the last AFCON 2021and has failed again in 2023.

Let the government interfere and GFA will hide behind FIFA to threaten the government with suspension for interfering in the affairs of GFA. We all know that without the government's financial support, the GFA will collapse, and Ghana will not be able to participate in any competition and yet the government cannot act, except GFA.

When the former football administrator Mr Kwesi Nyatakyi was replaced by Kurt Okraku ''Star Boy'' as President of the GFA, Ghanaians were made to believe that all the ills of our football administration were over. The impression created, made many followers of the game believe that the world cup would soon come to Ghana.

Sadly, his ascension to the throne of football administration in Ghana has done more harm than good and has been a complete disaster. The president and his team of directors must bow down their heads in SHAME.

Talk to some past and current administrators of GFA and they will tell you bluntly that those in charge of our football administration are the problem because they love money more than the success of the Black Stars.

Currently, despite our horrible performance, it is alleged that GFA is sharing bonuses and people who did not even participate in the game and remained in Ghana are being rewarded GH¢100,000 each. It seems that sacking of coaches, creation of committees, overseas travels and per diem, sharing of bonuses etc, are the priorities of the GFA.

Ghana is blessed with talented players but the selection of the right calibre of players has been a major challenge because of the love for money.

It is an open secret that many of our football administrators own private football clubs competing in our national league. Peace FM reported on 15 February 2021 that GFA President 'brags', he owns five Clubs and pays salaries of 168 players every month''. If this is true, where lies his interest in building the Black Stars?

Brig-Gen (Rtd) J. Odei

Which team do you think has the higher chance of winning the 2024 elections?

Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024