Sports News of Sat, 28 Jun 201441

Stars return from Brazil today

...after disastrous campaign


An ‘inquest’ into the woeful performance of the Black Stars was obvious after they lost to Portugal last Thursday.
The fans called for it, some football administrators added their voices but the moderates asked for circumspection in order not to throw away the bath water with the baby.
Demands for heads to roll in the Black Stars cannot be swept under the carpet, especially when our participation was ducked by controversies and scandals.
Starting the tournament on a very poor note with a painful loss to the USA, then reports of player revolt, allegations of match-fixing, player indiscipline, the suspension of Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng and eventually our exit from the tournament, it was clear that unlike their counterparts in 2006 and 2010, the current Black Stars team would not be applauded.
Ghana’s participation in Brazil 2014 opened too many cans of worms to be ignored.
But now that President John Dramani Mahama has added his voice to calls for investigations into the output of the Black Stars in Brazil, which now makes everything official.
A probe or a postmortem will soon begin into the performance of the Black Stars at the World Cup in Brazil 2014.
Examination of performance
Speaking to the presidential press corps in Malabo, Equitorial Guinea last Thursday, President Mahama said the nation was 'heartbroken', and pointed out that rebuilding the team was a sure way of competing well in future competitions.
He said as a result of the Black Stars’ elimination, he had asked the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to set up a committee to examine what went wrong in Brazil in order to correct the wrongs in future.
Mr Mahama, who was attending the 23rd Ordinary session of the Africa Union in Malabo, watched the game against Portugal at the presidential villa.
Minutes after the game, he descended to speak to the press and expressed disappointment about the elimination of the team.
Dashed Hopes
He mentioned the high hopes the nation had in the team before the tournament and said their elimination should be a lesson to the managers of football in the country that all was not well with the Black Stars.
"The whole country was behind the team, but unfortunately things did not go our way. We need to come back and critically examine what went wrong," he said. The President, however, congratulated the players on the strong fight that they put up, adding that at certain points luck was not on their side.
In football, he said, sometimes luck counted but in the tournament luck eluded the team.
GBA wades in
In a related development, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has called on football authorities to fashion out a strict code relating to discipline in camp and the payment of bonuses and allowances to footballers and other sports personalities in any future event.
“It is the GBA’s firm conviction that all persons representing the country in any capacity whatsoever should be aware of the fact that the country is bigger than any individual and that it is an honour and privilege to be called upon to serve the nation,” it said in a statement on the events in the camp of the Black Stars at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The statement, jointly signed by the National President of the GBA, Nene Amegatcher, and National Secretary, Mr Justin Amenuvor , however, congratulated the officials who “stamped their authority by expelling the two players and suggested that discipline must be the hallmark of our football teams and other teams and individuals engaged in sports and not merely the desire to win. This discipline must percolate to all facets of nation-building.”
$3 million cash
On the carting of $3 million physical cash to the team in Brazil, it said it was imprudent that “the football players could be allowed to ride roughshod over the whole country.”
It said the carting of physical cash had cast a very negative picture of Ghana to the outside world.
The statement said the association found it “an affront to the rule of law and the principle of equality before the law that the government on the spur of the moment found it prudent to disregard the law and legally binding directives and pander to the whims and caprices of the senior national team, the Black Stars.”
It said such an act was not only a betrayal of the citizenry, especially business people who painstakingly have had to abide by the law and directives of the Bank of Ghana at the expense of their business interests,” but also smacks of lawlessness and a bad example to the people of Ghana.”
It also stated that the Black Stars were not above the law and the GBA could find no justification for an exception to be made for them.
“The GBA disagrees completely with government’s decision to bow to pressure from the Black Stars players and in the process, not only break the law but also, set a bad precedent for the citizenry,” it said.
The statement said the government must be seen to be leading the line in playing by the rules set by law and institutions of state and not assist a group of people to break it, adding that “this is utterly despicable!”

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