Kwesi Nyantakyi and the Highlander!

Sat, 12 Oct 2013 Source: Richard Annerquaye ABBEY

The President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, definitely seems to be a very hard nut to crack. That his leadership has achieved a lot for Ghana football is never in doubt. However, the man has been overtaken by recent events. With each passing day, it becomes clearer that the man has definitely run short of ideas.

Let’s take the issue of Richard Kingson’s (aka Olele) recent call-up into the Black Stars for the World Cup qualifier against Egypt as an example. Of course, Mr. Nyantakyi is not the head coach, but he seemed to have led the campaign for Olele’s return to the Black Stars.

For me, I will never lambast Olele for anything. What is his crime? That he has accepted to represent his country? Many people have called the age of the veteran goalkeeper into question. That’s not surprising. Granted their allegations are true, age-cheating is a worldwide football canker.

Over the years most of the best goalkeepers we have had plied their trade in the domestic league; seldom did we have goalkeepers plying their trade abroad. So as the Nyantakyi-led FA began to forsake the league, some of these things were bound to happen.

It’s true we have a goalkeeping crisis in the Black Stars, and with Brazil 2014 within arm’s length we needed a solution as soon as possible. Richard Kingson definitely has long seen his glory days. But characteristic of leadership in this country, they always attempt solving short-term problems without thinking about long-term repercussions.

In this regard, I think the GFA and the coach of the Black Stars erred in recalling the veteran goalkeeper. No one should attempt convincing us that Olele is the best thing to have happened to the Black Stars. It may be true that in the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is made king. However, there are more able one-eyed men than the ex-Great Olympics goalkeeper.

There’s no need crying over spilt milk; the harm has been done already. What is important now is for us to rally together and not let this cause disunity in the camp of the Stars. But I must confess I really admire Olele’s commitment to the national team. At 35 – at least according to the official record – his desire to represent his national team is remarkable and exceptional.

Inasmuch as I disagree with Olele’s call-up, I think the character assassination the man has suffered will needlessly deter other older players who would still want to contribute to the national team’s cause. What’s the problem if he indeed is playing with his grandchildren? How’s that a crime?

And now to the Kevin Prince Boateng issue. After unceremoniously resigning from national team duties, he is back again with another World Cup opportunity on the horizon. I don’t subscribe to the arguments of those calling him an opportunist. Far from that.

What really I don’t get is why the GFA is sending distress signals that we can’t do without him. For Christ’s sake there have been many teams that have won major trophies without obviously their best stars playing. The absence of Cantona et al at France 98 is one example.

Let’s reward hard work. Those who have brought the team this far must be given a shot to further prove themselves. If we need to genuinely improve our team we are at liberty to do so, but not with players whose commitment is always in question.

Every member of the Black Stars must definitely earn his call-up by hard work and unwavering commitment. The fate of Laryea Kingson and Sammy Adjei in the run up to the World Cup 2006 was very painful. Which two players were more committed than these two? But we all know how the story ended: as “monkeys”, they worked hard only for the “baboons” to come and “chop”.

As we head into next week’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Egypt in Kumasi, it is likely that KPB will not feature due to a knock he suffered while playing for his club, Schalke 04. Of course, the coincidence of his injuries with Black Stars matches is causing a lot of people to raise eyebrows.

I’m not God to determine when next he will get injured, and neither am I a physio to determine the extent of his injuries, so we all must exercise restraint in our judgments. There’s a Ghanaian proverb which translates as, “If you pretend you are dead, you will be buried under pretence”. If the GFA truly want the best for Ghanaians, they should employ such a strategy. But of course they are not going to.

Kwasi Appiah’s failure to search hard for the talents out there and Nyatakyi’s failure to build a league that will grow home-based talents are what have brought us to a situation where we are scrambling for players to play for the Black Stars.

Meanwhile, if you wish for some fun, check out #Olelefacts, and good luck to the Black Stars!

I’m out.

Email: abbeykwei@gmail.com


The writer is the author of Rhythms of Thoughts, a column published in the Weekend edition of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT)

Source: Richard Annerquaye ABBEY