The Black Stars begin their 2018 World Cup Africa group qualifying campaign today, against the backdrop of divisive comments by the top echelons in the administration of the sport.
In our mid-week edition last Wednesday, we had the uncomfortable duty of playing the devil’s advocate on the matter by calling for a halt to the petty diatribe by the opposing parties.
However, to date it has continued, with the latest one sweeping through the Stars’ camp like Hurricane Matthew across the Caribbean.
And this one — a ministerial fiat not to allow the Stars to travel to South Africa to honour a friendly international match against the Bafana Bafana — must have sparked anger among the players for them to attempt a resort to ‘civil disobedience’, as it were.
Consequently, the players are reported to have boycotted a meeting with the minister in Tamale until some FA bigwigs later intervened.
That was how worse things got yesterday and which must be why the injured deputy captain of the Stars, Andre Dede Ayew, waded in, cautioning that the off-field issues could jeopardise their qualifying chances for the Mundial (see page 12).
We are as troubled as Dede by this unrepentant behaviour by the power brokers, at a time when all attention should be on today’s tricky duel against The Cranes of Uganda.
We are tempted to speculate that the ongoing impasse is deliberate on the part of especially the financier of the Stars to ensure that we are unable to make it to the 2018 World Cup because of the no-money syndrome which has become the sing-song of the ministry.
We foresee such an eventuality as a big relief from the financial burden on the ministry, otherwise how come the minister flew the kite about a friendly that could happen or not happen only after today’s crucial match.
For some observers, the action appeared like a diversionary tactic, which must have sparked the fury of the players, among other issues
Be that as it may, it is our belief that the Stars will put aside all worries and rise to the occasion against The Cranes to post a winsome World Cup qualifying opener.
And for most Ghanaians, the Russia 2018 World Cup is a matter of course and whoever or which authority stands in the way of that dream must be damned for a monumental national failure.