John Paintsil: Sulley Muntari’s experience needed in Black Stars

BY: Peter Sarbah
Sulley Muntari- Hearts of Oak
Sulley Muntari- Hearts of Oak

Former Black Stars defender, John Paintsil, has given his full backing to any decision that would include Sulley Ali Muntari in the national team for the World Cup playoff against Nigeria later this month.

The 37-year-old winger’s name has become a common feature following his sterling performance in the local league since joining Accra Hearts of Oak last month with a section of the fans advocating his inclusion in the national team.

Speaking to the Graphic Sports in an interview last Thursday. Paintsil praised the consistency of his former international teammate on the local scene despite his age and insisted it would be a travesty should the technical team ignore him.

Besides, he has also advocated the inclusion of not less than five local players when the official list of the Black Stars teams is released.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea to include Sulley in the national team because he is still young and the local league is also very competitive so if he is playing every week and based on what the supporters have seen if they think that he can help the national team, they have every right to call for him to help the team.”

“I think his experience and his dedication will also help the team but if the coach also wants to add him I think it will be fair since he is actively playing and he deserves it,” the ex-Fulham star stated.

He admitted that games between Nigeria and Ghana were often considered a local derby and the impact of the coach in winning the game was minimal as against the determination of the players.

“When it comes to Nigeria and Ghana it’s a local derby and sometimes it’s the players who have to do more than the coach. Sometimes playing against Nigeria, the coach’s system won’t matter but the determination, hard work and putting their body on the line for the country that matters.

“So, if we want to look at the tactics going to be used by the coach, I’ll say that when it comes to Ghana and Nigeria, the tactics of the coach doesn’t matter because the players have to play for pride so this one we don’t expect much from the coaches,” he stated.

Paintsil, who played alongside muntari in the black stars side that defeated Nigeria 2-1 in the quarter-final of the 2008 AFCON, believes that despite Nigeria’s individual brilliance and depth in quality, Ghana have a better chance of picking the Mundial slot considering how far the Black Stars have come but warned against complacency.