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21.10.2003 Sports News

Whither Ghana Soccer?

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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Most football fans who listened to radio commentary on the Ghana-Nigeria semi-final match and the third place match with Zambia during the just-ended All-Africa Games in Nigeria could hardly believe their ears when their idols, the Black Meteors, were subjected to a 3-0 drubbing by archrivals, the Green Falcons, and a tensed third-place win against Zambia.

The Black Meteors, in fact, had to struggle to beat their Zambian counterparts through penalties. Call it a win. It was exactly that. But such is the stage of soccer on the continent that one can hardly talk of minions in the game now. The senior national team, the Black Stars, miserably failed to match their Rwandese counterparts in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series and were accordingly booted out of the tournament that kicks off next year. The least said about our much-vaunted top clubs like Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko in continental tournaments the better.

It has been all too easy to find a scapegoat in our coaches, referees and other match officials or our foreign-based players for their alleged arrogance and disrespect even when they insist that the right thing must be done any time we fail to glitter.

The simple truth is that we now take delight in shifting blame while refusing to acknowledge our own faults or mistakes. We have come to a stage where fans, soccer administrators and even commentators seem to know more about the game than the coaches who have been put in charge of the team. Let us count the number of coaches - both local and foreign - that this nation has engaged over a decade and ascertain why they have not performed to satisfaction. If they are not so good, why then do we engage them?

The Chronicle is tempted to agreee with how Nigeria's ace football commentator Emeka Odigbo deascribed Ghana soccer "Eye Pleasing." Despite our fluid and entertaining soccer and superior ball possession, we can now hardly go beyond the qualifying stages in international tournaments, and think that the fault is not in us but in others.

Mr. Odigbo hit the nail right on the head when he stated that the motive of a good team is to score and win and not to please fans with fine soccer. Playing the way we are doing now will therefore take us nowhere and no matter what coach we engage, we shall always falter and attain no laurels.

Not until we have re-organised ourselves well and purged ourselves of the ills plaguing our football administration and game, we will have to content ourselves with playing second fiddle to soccer minions like Rwanda and Chad.

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