The senior national soccer team, the Black Stars, last Sunday put up a stupendous performance to beat their Ethiopian counterparts by five goals to nil. It was a score line many Ghanaians never anticipated, looking at the performance of the team in the recent past.
Though Ethiopia is not considered one of the power houses in Africa when it comes to football, however, some of these teams can prove stubborn in such decisive games, and that is why we are happy with the performance of the Black Stars.
The Chronicle also congratulates the Kumasi fans for filling the stands at the stadium, which served as a morale booster for the players. Because of the Brazil ruckus, Ghanaian and Kumasi fans completely abandoned the national team, but after Otumfuo Osei Tutu's intervention, they decided to forget about the past and threw their maximum support behind the team.
Last Friday, The Chronicle used this column to appeal to the fans to throng the stadium in their numbers to support the team, which they did, and we are very grateful to them.
The Chronicle does not remember the last time the Black Stars recorded such a cricket score in a competitive match. The last time such a high score line was recorded was in 2013, when the Stars beat Egypt by 6-1 in the first leg of the 2014 World Cup qualifying match. Incidentally, that massive victory was supervised by the current Manager, James Akwasi Appiah.
This has confirmed the widely held view that it is only Ghanaian managers who can catapult the team to higher heights.
Ghana has been hiring expatriate coaches for many years, but none of them has helped the country achieve any memorable feat. We hope the modest achievement of Mr Akwasi Appiah has convinced the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to always look out for Ghanaian coaches, and stop the over-concentration on foreign ones.
But, whilst commending Akwasi Appiah and the players for bringing back smiles on the faces of all Ghanaians, The Chronicle is also drawing the attention of the authorities to the deteriorated nature of facilities at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
Sunday's match was beamed live to the rest of the world, and it was pathetic to see the tartan tracks that have turned from pure red to black. It appears that ever since the stadium was renovated to host the CAN 2008 tournament, nothing has been done to keep the facilities in shape. What this means is that all the sports ministers we have had in the past eight years did not care a hoot about the maintenance of the facilities at the stadium.
It is instructive to note that Baba Yara Stadium is not the only sporting facility that has been allowed to deteriorate. The current Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah, has already announced that the Accra Sports Stadium would be closed down this month for renovation work to be carried out.
The 20,000-capacity sports stadium, which was initiated by the erstwhile Kufuor administration at the University of Ghana campus, was also abandoned when the Mills-Mahama governments took over the reins of power. Minister Asiamah is, again, promising to complete the project before the current tenure of office of Nana Addo ends.
Although the provision of sporting facilities helps to get the youth engaged, it never featured prominently in the agenda of the immediate past government, otherwise, it would not have allowed the facilities at the stadia to deteriorate to the extent we are seeing today.
Ghana is the second largest economy in West Africa, and well respected on the continent. But looking at the facilities at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, which unfortunately was shown to viewers outside the borders of Ghana, The Chronicle wonders how our peers will perceive us?
Notwithstanding the fact that the Black Stars is being resurrected through the massive support of the Kumasi fans, The Chronicle suggests to the authorities to shift the next competitive match the team would play from Kumasi to either Tamale or Sekondi.
Showing the dirty tartan tracks in Kumasi to the outside world is a disgrace we should not entertain again. The Sports Ministry should also squeeze water out of stone to raise the needed funds to replace the tartan tracks.