25.05.2004 Sports News

Inheriting And Embracing Mediocrity

By Soccer Express
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One of the major problems that has affected the smooth management of soccer in this country is the inefficiency that has been inherited by one management board after the other.

Over the years several management boards have failed in their duty to resuscitate the fortunes of the game simply because when they assume office they fail to divert themselves of the inefficiencies they have inherited. Though they preach change they end up adopting the very processes that led us nowhere previously.

The past week has seen the new management board of the Ghana Football Association showing that, given the opportunity, it would perpetuate the very inefficiencies they were appointed to remove.

When coach Mariano Barreto released his programme for the Black Stars and Meteors, the FA acquiesced to his requests, even though they were unsure of the availability of the Meteors first team players for today's friendly against the Portuguese Youth team.

Earlier this week the FA suddenly realised that the threats of local clubs not to release their players was real and subsequently announced the cancellation of the Portugal trip. Then days later we are all informed that a select squad drawn mainly from Feyenoord and Ashantigold have joined a foreign select side to play the Portuguese.

What do we have to prove with this kind of nonsense?

Are we playing the friendly because we want to prepare our Olympic squad or we are playing because we have accepted some appearance fee and cannot return it?

The Meteors may win the match today by a good margin, but we also stand a good risk of losing perhaps by a wide margin, because the team, however representative it is of the crème de la crème of Ghanaian players was, hurriedly arranged.

If the FA through the comments of its General Secretary, had instructed the national coach to use only players he was certain would travel to Athens later this year for the Portugal match, why the major turnaround days after this fact was released to the media?

As we have said before, Mr. Barreto is definitely eager to get the job done but perhaps he needs some guidance on what is in the best interest of Ghana. This refusal to acknowledge the international soccer calendar of the top four clubs before finalising his programme is indefensible and the FA, by its current decision to postpone two league matches and send a squad of players who may never see Athens to feature as the Black Meteors, is clearly refusing to play its watchdog role.

News of FA officials meeting Kotoko at the airport to request for the release of its players upon their arrival from Algiers simply shows that the days of ad hoc practices have not come to an end.

When Kotoko were travelling to Algeria they were made to understand that due to the proximity of Algeria to Portugal, their players in the Meteors side would be made to fly straight from the North African city to Lisbon.

A day after the match in Algiers the team was told by the FA to fly down with its full complement of players because the Portugal match had been called off only for the FA to meet them at the airport when they had returned home from Algiers through Milan to request that some players be released for another circuitous route back to Europe!

Clearly our soccer administrators have learnt nothing from the past and would jump at nothing to repeat it.

The nice speeches have been made, the official trips have started and the past mistakes have reared their heads.

God Bless Ghana Football!

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