My heart bleeds profusely each time I hear well meaning Ghanaians, astute soccer pundits and ordinary football fans rallying calls on the GFA to do everything humanly possible to bring back players who have retired prematurely from national duty due to their own parochial, trivial and selfish desires. These desperate attempts made by some well meaning Ghanaians to have these bunch of unpatriotic, unprofessional and unwilling players practically persuaded back in to the team is clearly flawed at birth, unwarranted and a sure recipe for the teams failure.
Indiscipline on the part of players is nothing new in football but this new and highly unpardonable trend of turning away from your nation at the least provocation on the part of Ghanaian players is most bizarre, highly unfortunate and a blatant disregard to the nation which should be condemned unconditionally. The successes of traditional football nations in the world such as Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Argentina, England and more recently Spain can certainly not be attributed to this flawed at birth policy of begging players to represent their nation but on the solid principles of player commitment, professionalism, discipline, unconditional patriotism and an overwhelming passion on the part of players to serve their nation.
It is a known fact that the likes of Michael Essien, Dede Ayew, Kevin Prince Boateng and strangely enough Jordan Ayew (who still has a lot to prove) constitute this bunch of unpatriotic and unprofessional players, though they may have had issues with the G.F.A and some of its members, nonetheless they should be level headed enough to know that the interest of the nation (Ghana), which offered them the platform to showcase their talents to the world, clearly outweighs their individual interests and as such they owe the nation a lot in return. Or are they trying to tell us they don’t have issues with their colleague players, coaching staff and team management at their various club levels? Certainly not because we no.
Now just for the records, nobody knew Michael Essien outside the shores of Ghana until he was offered the opportunity to represent Ghana at the under 17 youth tournament in New Zealand 1999. Dede Ayew’s professional career was gradually taking a nose dive until Ghana offered him the opportunity to relaunch his career at the under 20 youth tournament in Egypt 2010.
Kevin Prince Boateng on his part was heading for relegation with Portsmouth in England when he opted to switch his nationality to be able to represent Ghana in the 2010 world cup in South Africa, which ultimately served as a platform for him to impress and thus subsequently joined Milan. As for Jordan Ayew, I believe he took the decision blindly because he has yet to prove his worth to Ghanaians and if based on football reasons alone then he definitely has a long way to go.
This current crop of black star players can certainly not be compared to the glorious era of stars like Abedi Ayew Pele, Tony Yeboah, Yaw Preko, Nii Odartey Lamptey, Sam Johnson, Kwesi Appiah, Sammy Kufour and Tony Baffour et al but they consistently failed to deliver the goods for Ghana during their era due to lack of cohession, display of over bloated ego and selfishness. Another ample testimony to the fact that a group of self centered and egoistic bunch of individuals thus not necessarily gurantee success is the current Ivorian team which boasts of the finest players in the African continent at the moment but they have been grossly disappointing.
Interestingly enough while football players in our dear country are playing hide and seek with the nation’s interest, other established and much better players in other countries get emotional to the point of tears when they are being overlooked by their countries e.g. Romario (former world player of the year) of Brazil broke down in tears when addressing the media after he was dropped from the national team, Fabio Grosso of Italy, Diego Maradona, Gaizka Mendieta and Jesus Ramirez et al. That explains why the countries of these players have tasted and continues to taste glory at the international level.
The current squad of players at Coach Kwesi Appiah’s disposal may not be the best but if they have the desire, passion, drive and fortitude for success then the sky will be their beginning and let’s not force horses who are not ready to drink water to the river side or they will surely destabilize the absolute serenity and peace at the riverside. They feel they are big but certainly Ghana is bigger than them all.