Sports Features of 2014-07-08

The Black Stars Onward

The Black Stars played beautifully at the world cup. They made the US see the inadequacies of their skills so much so that Landon Donovan, a former US national team member, has not given a TV interview without mentioning that the US need to improve on their skills to help them increase their time of processing the ball and that it will take time to achieve that goal. They played so beautifully that anyone who watched the Ghana-Germany game, if he/she is honest, will admit that Ghana is in a class with Germany. Despite that, we didn’t make it out of the group level because we couldn’t score: something that no one in his/her right mind will think will ever happen to Germany.
Scoring has been the problem of not just Ghana but all of Africa. Our style of play lends itself to allowing the opposing team to build their defense while we try to create an opening to take a shot; an opening that hardly ever come. I have been speaking about this since 2006 when I told a friend that we could have beaten Italy when we played them in the World Cup of 2006. Though I have met with nasty comments sometimes when I have written about this on Ghanaweb, I am undaunted because I believe I am right and until someone can show me that I am wrong, I will say the nasty comments come from those who may think they know football but don’t.
Having said the above, I will say that the coach’s one and only job is to come up with strategies to correct our shortcoming and make excellent a great team. Kwesi Appiah has the record of taking a great team to the world cup to die at the Group of Death. He is also a Coach who lost our match against the US from the bench no matter what his strategy was. He must know that no matter how much confidence Mr. Nyantakyi or GFA has in him or how far removed from government control he thinks he is because of FIFA, we the people of Ghana will not let him take our emotions to another World Cup and wring it out like he did this past World Cup.
Fortunately, there is a measure to judge if Mr. Appiah is doing what his job requires long before the next World Cup. Other African countries may choose to play in the manner that just about all the African teams played and lost in the World Cup, but in future games, if Mr. Appiah is doing an adequate job, then Ghana must dominate all games it plays against other African teams. We must score not less than 4 goals in all the games we play. If we lose a game after scoring 4 goals, we will see that we have problems elsewhere. From my perch, we couldn’t much lose a game after scoring 4 goals. If the Black Stars are not meeting this measure, Kwesi Appiah should not be coaching the team a year from now. If Mr. Nyantakyi does not do something at that time, he must go along with the coach. We the people of Ghana must be prepared to stand up and dare Sef Blatter if need be because we will only be exposing our emotions once again to be wrung out if we don’t set things right way before we get to getting ready for 2018.
Before I end, I will like to say that I cannot imagine Kwame Nkrumah sending the Black Stars out to the World Cup without meeting with them and giving them a little pep talk. If President Mahama had met with the Black Stars to give them a little encouragement rather than write an article in the papers, I am sure he would have found out that there was a problem brewing and he would have had the chance to solve the problem before he had to send over $3 million in cash overseas. The $3 million fiasco is on President Mahama. This fiasco seems to show in many different ways in his government. Unfortunately, there isn’t anyone that I can point to and say we have a leader in waiting at this time. There are many who want to be president but none who can say how to solve the country’s problem: the sadness of our country.
Tony Pobee-Mensah tpmensahr@yahoo.com