This article was written by George Addo Jnr in December 2014 ahead of Ghana’s participation at the African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. The Stars had been lambasted for their abysmal showing at the World Cup largely as a result of prioritizing money ahead of the national cause. Two years down the line, the Stars have not been forgiven with deputy captain Andre Ayew coming out to plead for forgiveness. Read the piece by Addo Jnr which is still relevant in today’s context as you read it.

Will this crop of Black Stars cease to feature for the national team or will they refuse play to the fullest abilities when given the opportunity? Will the Ghana FA and Ministry of Sports lose some considerable revenue? Or will Ghana’s  Black Stars go extinct ???

These are questions that we need to attempt answering as the unwavering “budget tide” once again heralds another tournament the senior national team will participate in -AFCON 2015.

It’s difficult to understand what the national team concept is all about. Some pundits have said playing for the national team is a singular honor which cannot be traded for anything.

What if the Black Stars were not given a dime?

Black stars and Marseille Midfielder Andre Dede Ayew described the so called “honor” as a full time job, and insisted their salaries no matter how high should not be a bother to the ordinary Ghanaian.

Not sure about  how the  Ghana FA and the sports ministry view the “national assignment” anyway but I am certain we are all on the same wavelength regarding what we expect from the Stars!

Nevertheless the covert motive of each of the above mentioned sects over the last decade could be interpreted from their actions without minimum fuss.

My first port of call in this article is the playing body. There is nowhere else to start from than the effusions of Marseille midfielder Dede Ayew  who justified  the  escalating winning bonuses of  the Black Stars  by suggesting that it was a salary rightfully earned.

His angry outburst at a press conference  angered the  loyal fans in  Kumasi who expectedly delivered the sucker punch by boycotting the 2015 AFCON qualifier against Uganda which ended in a 1-1 draw.

The damage caused by his tantrums was dire. His comments also further exposed the disdain with which he and his teammates currently treat this “national pride”. How times change? ..Goodness !

What if the Black Stars were not given a dime?

A call up to the national team years back was highly competitive and  even then with much more skillful, sharp and complicated pool of  players including the likes of three time African footballer of the year, Abedi Ayew Pele,  Anthony Yeboah ,Mohammed Gargo amongst others.

It’s too simplistic to suggest a lack of massive bonuses and the present  nauseating attitude of the current crop of stars were factors that ensured Ghana never made it to the FIFA World Cup till 2006.

Indeed, other factors aside the fictitious reasons assigned the world cup drought ,were responsible for Ghana’s failure to qualify then.

First, the CAF World Cup qualification format has been tinkered with and invariably boosted the chances or otherwise of Confederation of Africa Football member associations.

Here is what for the doubters! Africa had just a slot at  FIFA world cups between 1938 and 1978, the situation improved slightly with CAF being allocated 2 slots in the 1982,1986,1990 World cups, there was another push upwards for the 1994 World Cup in the USA which saw three African representatives and subsequently 5 slots from 1998 to 2014 World Cup with Africa recording a record six at the 2010 World cup which was hosted by South Africa.

So clearly the varying formats and slots available boosted the chances of the Stars in 2006 onwards. I know the Black Stars were kingpins of Africa during the 70’s and 80’s, winning the Nations cup on four occasions. So  questions about why they failed to qualify should arise.

What if the Black Stars were not given a dime?

But I will also ask such proponents to explain why  seven time Africa champions Egypt ,failed to qualify for the  2 FIFA World Cups  when they emerged champions in the 2006, 2008 and 2010 editions of the AFCON? Answer is – winning the AFCON is entirely different from playing in the world cup qualifiers-your chances only improve with your current form, kind of  qualifying format  and opponents pretty much.

This should blot out from the minds of people, the assertion that the introduction of huge winning or qualification  bonuses are responsible for Ghana’s three successive World cup berths. So Black stars get off it!!!Your performance is not entirely connected to how much you are promised as compensation.

Captain Asamoah Gyan tells me why at the last two editions of the AFCON, the will of Zambia and Burkina Faso was enough to crash your dream of winning a first silverware in 3 decades even when you were paid much higher qualification bonuses.

Get my point.!v Credit where credit is due, the Kwesi Nyantakyi led Ghana FA should be congratulated for overseeing three successive Black Stars World cup campaigns,( never mind what happened in the most recent), but  must also be made to carry the cross for  making the current crop of Black stars players pompous, insensitive, greedy and unpatriotic.

What if the Black Stars were not given a dime?

There is a direct relationship between the earnings of the players and management where huge qualification bonuses are concerned.

You don’t need a reminder about how the ” Super Co-efficient rule” works in calculating the  paycheck of the entire Ghana FA including Chief Drummers and sweepers at the Secretariat as evidenced by Ghana FA gaffer at the world cup commission of enquiry hearings months back.

Their huge interest in such matters only confirm  alleged cases of management members influencing players to demand more.

t’s high time the players called up to the national team understand what it truly means to don the national team jersey (famous RED GOLD GREEN) even before any bonuses or allowances are showered on them .

Apart from the pride that comes with representing the nation, these fortunate players use the stage as leverage for  moves to high profile clubs for more lucrative deals. Have they been told or believe they are indispensable  by anyone?

If the nation decided not to pay these players ever, will they  forever  hold us to ransom like they did naively at the World Cup when their careers were at stake? Maybe it’s time to dare these players to see their disgusting worst!  

The national team once upon a time was built on the tenets of  selflessness and patriotism, but  the current crop of stars  have  ignored  stories of players sacrificing for the nation at no cost and have rather focused on accounts of former stars who failed to make the most of their earnings  at their peak to blackmail the nation.

What if the Black Stars were not given a dime?

The Ministry of Sports is probably the worst culprit in this conniving game. They are less often scrutinized but are often beneficiaries of what may amount to be a case of create loot and share.

Kwesi Nyantakyi almost let the cat out of  the bag ,before the Justice Dzamefe Commission of enquiry but held back in mentioning names of personnel from the Sports ministry who enjoyed part of the $US4 million dollars that was flown to Brazil.

I thought the campaign to get Black Stars back to the basics had begun in earnest with the Sports ministry’s announcement of a slash in winning bonuses after it proposed a flat match appearance fee of $5000 dollars per game for the AFCON in Equatorial Guinea irrespective of the outcome or stage of the tournament the team makes.

But the interpretation of the slash in appearance fees is damning and I wonder what it is set out to achieve! Is it to muffle their pre conceived financial malfeasance or to fool Ghanaians into thinking something has been done about the outrageous appearances fees with accounting and English Jargon?

What if the Black Stars were not given a dime?

Hon Mahama Ayariga! Seriously has your ministry really decided  every member of the Black Stars will earn $US5000 whether win, lose or draw?? I shudder to believe this is a cut in allowance! And if you’re intended target is to get them to win the AFCON, I think you missed it bad.

Remember this is a team that has been tasked to just – “do well” -that’s no motivation to strive for excellence, and you top it with win, draw or lose and take US$5000-ludicrous, comic and laughable if you ask me?

I wonder! What’s the worst thing the Black Stars and their allies can do if Ghana made sacrifice her  sole measure of their commitment in  national colors instead the monetary incentives? Am sure their response will inform us about where we are as a nation, and what ought to be done in years to come.

I think we can curtail their most awful response! Just too many Ghanaian souls are  willing to take your places…True!


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