Ghana’s shameful World Cup exit; Our unruly Stars

There were no better ambassadors for Ghana in Brazil than the Black Stars. And by their own lofty standards in 2010 much was expected of them in 2014. But they gave little; in fact nothing more than shame-a despicable display of arrogance and hot-headedness; a shocking exhibition of how not to be smart, even if they are shameless for being unpatriotic.

“The Ghanaian players look tired on the field. They may have been counting money all night.” Those were the words from a commentator during Ghana’s must win game against Portugal and he couldn’t have said it any better.

Coincidentally, Ghana’s FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi agreed with the commentator saying Ghana’s World Cup dream were shattered all because of money.

Money! Money!! Money!!!

If for any reason, Kwasi Nyantakyi and his men thought that the 23 players who were selected were happy just because of the the pride of wearing the red gold green colors, then they must rethink their position again. Money was also a strong incentive.

To be frank, I am not one of those who think that playing for the Black Stars is all about patriotism. That kind of mentality died with Baba Yara and his other colleagues. Patriotism these days goes hand-in-hand with rewards, recognition and that is just the way it is supposed to be.

I love Ghana. I work hard as a journalist for Ghana and I negotiate with my employers and insist that they pay me what is due me. That cannot be a lack of patriotism, Can it?

There is always a lot of hypocrisy anytime issues about money crop up in the Black Stars and we are quick to condemn and vilify our players for negotiating and demanding what is rightfully theirs. But we all do same as public and private employees, don’t we?

And while I sympathise with the players for negotiating and insisting on their monies being paid I cannot for any sane reason approve of the manner in which they went about demanding their cash.

They turned our World Cup hopes into jokes and swapped our fame with shame all in the name of money.

In the end, the goodwill they enjoyed from Ghanaians was obliterated and many Ghanaians were praying for a Ghana defeat instead of a Ghana victory against Portugal. Any wonder why John Boye, the kisser of the $100,000 scored an own goal?

Sulley’s Silly Slap

He is known for his rage on and sometimes off the field but to slap a management member over money, no matter how heated the argument was, is to act like a bull with no head. It is time Sulley Muntari is told in the face that there are hundreds of people in Ghana who are wealthier but who have respect for people. He is known for his love and affection for kids but what kind of role model is he to those kids? What kind of legacy would he be remembered for when he retires from Ghana football? I defended him publicly when his mother’s infamous “No Sulley No Black Stars!” controversy ensued; I pampered him when he scorned Coach Kwasi Appiah after he was substituted in the game against Lesotho but his recent act disgusts me and I feel like throwing up.

I have heard subtle attempts to rationalise his behaviour and to legitimise his conduct by questioning the rationale in sending as many FA management members to the World Cup. As for the FA, I will address them in Part 3 of my World Cup piece, but the fact is, no player has the right to lift a finger on an official or even on his own colleague no matter what the situation is. If Sulley did that he must be made to dance to his own nasty song.

And yet, in the wake of this disgusting, heart wrenching behaviour by a man whose career has unashamedly been punctuated with several acts of indiscipline, I have heard arguments that the FA should have withheld any punitive measure because of our paramount interest in remaining in the tournament or at best fine him so that a more ruthless punitive measure would be taken after the World Cup. I cringed at such an argument. If Sulley had insulted or shown disrespect, I am sure the FA and the coach would have tolerated him because those are traits we famously associate with him anyway, but when he goes beyond insult to assault then a more serious action ought to be taken and I support the coach and management 100 per cent on that decision.

Besides in 2002, no less a player than Sammy Kuffuor was sacked from the Stars’ camp in Mali, even for a milder offence  and the team qualified from the group stage until it was beaten by Nigeria in the Quarter finals.

The impression being created that it was the dismissal of the two- Sulley and Kelvin- that led to the team’s first round exit can only be far from the truth. If anything, it was the actions by the two and not reactions that created the mess in camp and subsequently the defeat to Portugal.

The Impudence of Kevin Prince Boateng

For some weird reasons Kevin Prince Boateng thinks of himself as the best thing to have happened to Ghana football. Isn’t it?

He is nothing more than an opportunistic, destructive element in the team  and must never be entertained.

Before him, this country has had better more committed players-Anthony Baffoe, Otto Addo, Hans Adu Sarpei- who switched nationality to play for Ghana and have since become gems of reference.

Nobody can convince me that during the playing days of these legends there were no issues within the Black Stars camp and yet we never heard any words of destruction from them.

This is a player who found it convenient only to play at the World Cup and when he is given the opportunity, he turns around to play the buffoonery.

He had the audacity to question the coach’s selection in public, allegedly insulted the coach in private and when he is sacked he becomes a loose cannon, firing from all cylinders with outrageous allegations that would only divide the team.

The Belgium coach in the game against US decided to play a relatively young and inexperienced striker ahead of his first option-Lukaku.

Just when he (Lukaku) was introduced into the game he created the first goal, scored the second and sent his team to the Quarters. He proved to the coach why he should be the first option. And yet when Kevin was brought on under similar circumstances, he was in a hurry to go to press and criticise the coach instead of doing his criticism on the field.

 In the second game against Germany he was started and was perhaps the weakest link in a Ghana side that was fluid and superb. No wonder he was substituted.

Adam Kwarasey like many other Ghanaians was unhappy with what happened in Brazil and has called for an investigation.

He was quoted as saying “We have always had problems in camp but this was way too much. Authorities should look into this I feel we were not properly treated and that led to all the misunderstanding.

“When there is a problem you look at where it started not where it ended,” Kwarasey told Ghanasoccernet.com.

Is that not a more matured way of handling the issue than publicly calling some of the players saints and others corrupt as has been attributed to Boateng?

Without any doubt this World Cup fiasco was just a collective failure by the players and not just the two, I must admit.

The players had every opportunity to sign a bond with the FA and the ministry to pay them their due immediately after the World Cup; they had every opportunity to beat Portugal, collect another wining bonus and increase Ghana’s money FIFA would have given the country if we had qualified for the next round and even to the quarter finals.

They had every opportunity to play for themselves and increase their own value in the European market; they had many opportunities. But like the typical Ghanaian, pay-me-today-and-forget-about-tomorrow-mentality, the players banked all their hopes on the $100,000 and forgot about all other things.

In the end, part of the $100,000 was eaten away by the Brazilian taxes .

There is a saying in the local parlance that if you think you are too wise you end up saying good morning to a goat.


Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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