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21.05.2019 Football News

Ruining Black Stars At The Root

By Jerome Otchere
Ruining Black Stars At The Root

News broke on Monday evening that, striker, Asamoah Gyan has recused himself from AFCON 2019 and in fact, also retired from the national team. That came quite as a surprise to me and clearly, something must have compelled the former Black Stars captain to arrive at, what I still consider as an impulsive decision rather than one that was deeply thought through.

I’m unable to share a thought on his purported conversations with Coach Kwasi Appiah not because I can’t interrogate the subject of their discussion, which has brought us to this point. I believe that dwelling on that, adds nothing of value to the substantial issue of how I think, we have continuously undermined the Black Stars with awful handling of pure managerial issues.

I wrote on this platform recently that: “The problems that have beset the Black Stars have been down to management. It is been a distressing failure on the part of the team’s handlers both on the administrative and technical levels, to diligently deal with fundamental issues of decision-making and when to make those decisions,”.

I’m one of those who think, Asamoah Gyan, regardless of how he feels, is at liberty to do what he wants with his national team career. We shouldn’t make it look like, he has to been begged to serve the Black Stars but then, we ought to be careful about certain things because these things touch the root and heart of the team. We risk destroying everything we want to do with the Black Stars if care isn’t taken.

I’m sorry to say that, over time, at least in the last five or more years, we’ve allowed too many off-the-pitch issues to harm the purpose, unity and spirit of the Black Stars. I come not to spew spurious allegations but to state fact to back my case of how we have been mismanaging the Black Stars in recent years outside of on-the-pitch issues. It’s disturbing.

Once, it was a coach telling us about juju in camp; how it destroyed the team and their agenda at an African Nations Cup. He didn’t tell us what he did as a coach to stem the tide of superstition rearing its ugly face. He rather returned from the tournament, trophy-less and to report to the FA, what accounted for the team’s inability to win the competition.

The other time too, it was players quibbling over winning bonuses and how much they wanted. That was no news. We have seen numerous African national football teams fighting authorities over money. That’s not my point. My argument and disappointment are with how handlers of the Black Stars allowed issues like that to blow up, embarrassingly leading to reports of players telling politicians to take jerseys and play with their families if they so cared.

Then again, the mother of them all! The disgrace at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The players’ appearance fee that did not come on time, the alleged player revolt, the airlifting of millions of dollars to the South American nation, the scuffle between a player and a Black Stars management committee member, etc. Former GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, would later admit to the Daily Graphic newspaper that, “Money ruined” Ghana in Brazil.

How do we fail to manage these issues that for me, harm the Black Stars at the bottom of their feet? Which legs would they stand on to compete favourably if we continue to weaken their base with the poor-handling of clear, managerial or administrative issues? Triumph at a tournament comes with so many things other than having the right players.

Tension over the captaincy issue has simmered but now it seems to have exploded in a different fashion. Maybe, we were lied to by the powers that be, that, the captaincy issue was amicably resolved or perhaps, there was boldfaced-pretence in the hearts of some people at the meeting that supposedly resolved the captaincy issue.

I’m neither here to accuse individuals nor call personalities names but clearly, basic issues of decision-making and the timing of these decisions have not been handled well over and over, and this obvious flaw, in the management of the Black Stars, continuous to undermine all we want to do with the team.

It partly explains why we have not won anything on the continent in nearly four decades despite injecting millions of dollars into the team’s scheme of things. We will do many positive things like camping on time only to allow off-the-pitch development to derail everything.

That’s how we have lived. It hurts. From the coach to the management committee to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and now, the Presidency – we have knowledgeable people who shouldn’t supervise the ruining of the Black Stars at the root and heart, and indeed another fiasco at the 2019 AFCON.