Football | National | Opinion

Baidoo: Disgraceful maltreatment of the Black Princesses must stop

The year is 2015, and the Black Queens clinched a gold medal at the African Games in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, by defeating Cameroon in a hard-fought final.

The nation rejoiced, basking in the glory of victory.

However, beneath the surface of celebration, a profound injustice brewed.

Led by the indomitable Mercy Miles, the team made a courageous stand, rejecting the US$ 2,000 bonus per player offered for their gold medal victory.

It wasn't a dismissal of appreciation but a demand for justice—a plea for the settlement of their outstanding bonuses, totalling approximately US$ 10,000 each, accrued from their tireless efforts in the All Africa Games and Olympic qualifiers.

Months passed, and the echoes of their protest reverberated within the hallowed halls of Ghana's parliament as the players staged a demonstration, demanding the payment of their rightful dues.

The threat to bare their grievances in the most vulnerable manner—nakedness—was a desperate plea for recognition and acknowledgement of their sacrifices.

It's been nine years since, but the painful lesson remains unlearned. The Ghana Football Association, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the nation at large have yet to heed the call for fairness and equity.

Fast forward to the present, and the same narrative repeats itself. Both the Black Queens and the Black Princesses find themselves owed, their efforts and sacrifices undervalued and overlooked.

Despite their exceptional qualifications and achievements, they are met with indifference and neglect.

The bonuses of the senior women's national team were settled before their crucial game against Zambia for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games but they couldn't make the cut as they missed the ticket once again.

But for the U-20s, no action was taken.

Yet, amidst the turmoil and injustice, the Black Princesses stood tall, resilient, and unwavering in their commitment to represent their country with pride and honour.

Led by head coach Yussif Basigi, they epitomised grace under pressure, embodying the spirit of perseverance and dedication.

As they convened in Cape Coast for the African Games, the Princesses remained undeterred by the looming shadow of unpaid bonuses. Through late-night meetings and unwavering determination, they forged ahead, united in purpose and resolve—to bring home gold for Ghana.

And triumph they did. In a thrilling final against Nigeria, they showcased their prowess, emerging victorious against all odds. Yet, amidst the jubilation and accolades, the sting of unpaid bonuses lingers—a bitter reminder of their unfulfilled entitlements, their sacrifices unacknowledged

As Ramadan yields to Eid, the Princesses find themselves in a paradoxical dilemma—celebrating a monumental victory without the recompense they deserve. It is a poignant reminder of the systemic injustices that plague women's football in Ghana—a harsh reality that demands urgent redress.

How long will we continue to overlook the plight of our women's national teams? How long will we allow their sacrifices to go unrecognised and unrewarded? It is time for action—for accountability and fairness to prevail.

Dear Ministry of Youth and Sports, the time for change is now. Stand with our Black Princesses, honour their sacrifices, and ensure that their contributions are duly recognised and rewarded.

Let us not merely celebrate their successes but champion their cause and advocate for their rights.

With another World Cup on the horizon, let us not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Let us stand united in support of our Black Princesses, ensuring that they receive the respect and recognition they rightfully deserve.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.