Black Stars captaincy rift triggers 'bring back Stephen Appiah spirit'
With the choice of captain of the national football team, the Black Stars, stirring controversy, the leadership qualities of former skipper has been held out as a shining example.
Former spokesperson of the Ghana Football Association Randy Abbey explained, for Stephen Appiah, there was no fixation about holding down the captain’s armband.
Ghana’s campaign to conquer African football is shaping up by off-field controversy, sparked by the Black Star’s star man Asamoah Gyan who announced he was pulling out of the squad.
The decision was in reaction to coach Kwesi Appiah’s decision to pass on the captaincy to 29-year old Andre Dede Ayew, son of former Black Stars captain and former African Player of the Year, Abedi Pele.
Gyan would later do a u-turn after President, Nana Akufo-Addo intervened. Kwesi Appiah has named him in his 29-man squad and confirmed the 33-year old striker won’t captain the team after a seven-year hold on the role.
The controversy has raised concerns the team to conquer Africa at AFCON tournament in Egypt has not conquered its internal rifts.
Discussing the controversy on JoyNews analysis program, Newsfile Saturday, Randy Abbey expressed disappointed in the unfolding events.
The football insider and one-time member of the Black Stars management team revealed managing the players has always been a herculean task.
‘It is about egos’, he said and warned Ghanaians would learn to their shock, player issues, management have to deal with within the Black Stars.
But he doffed his hat to former Juventus player, Stephen Appiah who captained the Black Stars to Ghana’s first-ever appearance at a World Cup.
He said as his career petered out, Stephen Appiah still captains of the Black Stars would be sitting on the bench while his compatriots battled on the field.
When he would be called in to make a contribution as a substitute during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Stephen Appiah would not insist on wearing the band.
“There were some occasions, he did not even take the band. There were times that he took, there were times that he asked John to keep it”
Raving on, Randy Abbey explained Stephen Appiah would never as captain enter into a negotiation or discussion with management alone.
“You won’t get him to come and negotiate one on one,” he said and explained he always brought along a group of senior players – Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Mensah, Richard Kingson and Asamoah Gyan.
Randy explained, this group were tough to negotiate with and on some occasions, the captain Stephen Appiah would not even speak.
“Stephen is a different player,” panellist Edudzi Tameklo contributed. ‘He was an outstanding player,” a lawyer and former sports reporter Robert Nii Arday Clegg a panellist also added.
Stephen Appiah who played for eight foreign teams is now a technical coordinator for the Black Stars.
Ghana has been drawn in Group F for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt alongside defending champions Cameroon.
Guinea-Bissau and Benin are the other teams, making it an all West African group.
Kwesi Appiah’s men will be based in Egyptian city, Ismailia, and will begin their tournament against Benin on Monday, 25 June.