Saturday, March 2, 2013

30 years since the Black Stars last won something

I've been meaning to write a blog post about yet another tournament that ended without the Black Stars of Ghana winning the whole shebang. And then the Ayews 'retired' from the Black Stars. Bang! Opinion is divided on whether Ghana should get the services of Dede and Jordan Ayew for our national football team. Opinion is also divided on whether they could have helped the Black Stars do better at the African Cup of Nations that just happened in South Africa. I think they would have helped but I had few reasons to believe we couldn't end our trophy wait earlier this month. If you're counting, the Black Stars have not won a major tournament in more than 30 years. In fact, the Black Stars have not lifted a trophy since I was born. Yeah, go ahead and put the blame on me.

I have been an avid supporter of the Black Stars. I get antsy when Ghanaians don't support, don't show belief or rally behind them. I almost believe that if our belief in the Black Stars isn't strong, they won't do as well they can. What happened in 1992? Ghanaians fear penalties as much as their Black Stars. If we don't, let's prove it. I see the Black Stars as a tournament team, what happens in the run-up a tourney doesn't matter as much in the big picture. When the guys are camped, build camaraderie and train together for some time, they deliver better on the pitch. Maybe the jama helps? Maybe our "agoro soccer" is well known to us that it's for us to grasp. We play well in tournaments. I had every reason to believe we would do well in our first World Cup at Germany and we saw how we fared at the Mzansi Mundial, flying Africa's flag high as our neighbours fell beside us till Asamoah Gyan..... complete the sentence.

We were missing Richard Kingston, Samuel Inkoom, David Addy, John Mensah, Nana Akwasi Asare, Emmanuel Frimpong-Manso, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Kevin Prince-Boateng, Dede Ayew, Jordan Ayew, etc. I just named the a "starting eleven". Our full squad for South Africa 2013 included Adam Kwarasey, Fatau Dauda, Daniel Adjei, Harrison Afful, Jerry Akaminko, John Boye, Richard Kissi Boateng, Jonathan Mensah, Awal Mohammed, John Paintsil, Isaac Vorsah, Christian Atsu, Albert Adomah, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Anthony Annan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Solomon Asante, Derek Boateng, Rabiu Mohammed, Mubarak Wakaso, Asamoah Gyan, Richmond Boakye Yiadom, and Emmanuel Clottey. You want the absentees to get mentions in my blog and our challenging charges to not find their names on my blog? You non-believer! :-)

The pressure on the Black Stars was reduced and I felt that would help them do better. We saw this happen at Angola 2010. It was clear we didn't have our best team but the boys gel before tourneys and do well when they are united and familiar with each other. We did enough against DR Congo, though we couldn't mazembe (sounds like thats what it should mean) them and drew 2-2. We didn't play any better against Mali and still won by a lone goal. No, this wasn't a 1-goal project. Asamoah Gyan didn't score till we outclassed Niger and brought more smiles to Ghanaian faces. We were not looking impressive though.

We expected to handle Cape Verde easily but we realised the Blue Sharks had come a long way since we spelt Cape in Praia before the Mzansi Mundial. The Brazil of Africa was dominated by a country that has less people than Kumasi. Another penalty gifted the Black Stars stood between the semi-finals and an early exit to join the fancied Ivorians. We met our bogey team Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals. If Asamoah Gyan was expecting to boogie in that game, he had another thought coming. Our River Volta neighbours matched us boot for boot and showed stamina that Baby Jet wish he had. In the end, we had more penalties to play and it proved to be our undoing. The trophy wait would continue, prolonged by a team Ghanaians widely expected to beat. And yes, we would have beat Nigeria's Super Eagles in the final easily. It's a tough thing to do, but we must congratulate Ayooluwaato Eze and his people on their Nations Cup victory.

We need all hands on deck. The Ayews can't stay away, they are amongst the best talent we have now. Essien should come play any position by fit. Let's find a good balance of players that can provide results. Mayele Kwasi Appiah is capable, no doubt. Simply put, we have to get better. We need better players and for the umpteenth time, we need to go and buy a striker. Naturalize a tall lanky Burkinabe whizzkid and have him ready for Brazil 2014. We have to qualify first and that would be no easy task. But we can win a World Cup. If you don't believe it, you're not helping, Your job is to support, the Black Stars' job is to play. Do yours.
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