Feature: Time up to separate football from politics (II)

Author: Ebo Kwaitoo

If our structures were sound, there is no way the technical director of the GFA, who is supposed to be at the apex of the technical directorate, should have been left behind while the team embarked on the training camp in Dubai and onward to Egypt. Ideally, Coach Francis Oti Akenten should have been carried along to provide the Stars coaches with the necessary technical assistance.

The treatment which was meted out to Coach Oti Akenten was demeaning, to say the least, as he was reduced to a TV panellist at home. If the GFA thinks the man is no longer fit for the job, it should do the honourable thing by replacing him with somebody it believes is more competent to get the nation the needed results.

As earlier stated, Ghana Football has reached a point where it needs a think tank to draw a comprehensive technical structure from the grass roots to the top. I don’t think it is prudent to spend all our time, energy and resources to chase an AFCON title which keeps eluding us.

The way forward for now is to give ourselves to diligence - a virtue the holy book espouses - towards the development of the game.

What I know is that God blesses hard work, not wishful thinking! If we can have an effective strategic plan for our football on a long-term basis, we will reap the fruits, as a matter course. Let’s wise up now!

Ghanaians don’t cease to amaze me. If Ghanaians can be truthful to themselves, it was obvious that Ghana went into the tournament as underdogs, meaning the Black Stars were not counted among the favourites to win the trophy. In that case, why was it then be a big deal after the team exited in the second round?

I don’t want to believe that some Ghanaians were carried away by the braggings of the Sports Minister and the lame assurance given by the skipper of the side, Dede Ayew, that the team would return home with the trophy. In fact, I couldn’t risk putting my heart into a campaign which saw the skipper of the side praying for the intervention of the god of football to help them win the trophy this time around.

Though the early exit fell below my expectation, I also didn’t expect the Stars to win the trophy simply because I thought it was a young team which needed time to blossom. I, therefore, decided to manage my expectations to avoid any trouble.

For instance, players such as Thomas Partey, Lumor Agbenyenu, Nuhu Kassim, Thomas Agyepong, Samuel Owusu, Kwabena Owusu, Caleb Ekuban were all making their debut AFCON appearance. Worst of all, old guards such as Asamoah Gyan, Jordan Ayew and his elder brother Andre Ayew, were not on top of their game prior to the tournament. Sadly, however, our two top performers in Europe, Partey and Kwadwo Asamoah, failed to live up to expectation, worsening Ghana’s plight in Egypt.

Once I have never attended any coaching course before, I will not pretend to know more than Coach Kwasi Appiah and his technical staff who spent much time with the players all the way from Dubai to Egypt, while I was a long distance away in Ghana.

These are some of the analysis which have helped me to resign to the fate that our best was not enough to take us far in the tournament. The kind of quality football I wanted to see from the Black Stars play is what the Algerians displayed.  

Another disturbing phenomenon which is creeping into the Black Stars is the infiltration of some so-called prophets and spiritualists who only see or hear from God during major tournaments. However, the continuous failure of their so-called prophecies should be enough to tell our blind superstitious leaders that these people are mere charlatans seeking to take advantage of the system to enrich themselves.

Much as Ghanaians desperately want to see the Black Stars win the AFCON anytime soon, the reality is that great achievements do not happen in an instant - they take time. The solution to our present woes is a well-planned team-building process with patience. As we focus on the future, the result will come by itself.

Germany showed the whole world the best way to achieve results at the elite level in modern football by winning the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup in style with a well-rehearsed 10-year plan. We either follow suit and get the required results over time or keep throwing the taxpayers' valuable money away in a wild goose chase mission for an AFCON trophy which keeps eluding us in such a heart-rending fashion.

More anon!