Black Stars at the crossroads


By Abdul-Salaam HAMDAWAY

The Black Stars are on the verge of crushing out of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers even after their painful group stage exit in Cote D’Voire 2023 African Cup of Nations. First of all the fall-outs from the 2023 African Cup of Nations-AFCON in the Ivory Coast, which saw the senior national team, the Black Stars exit at the group stage is more grievous than previously thought and has since left a very sour taste in our mouths.

The people who were and still are disappointed include soccer enthusiasts, football experts and sports Journalists. Here we are not only talking about any other national team, but the first senior national team in Africa to have won the coveted AFCON Trophy for four times as at the year 2000. Though this jinx has since been broken by the Pharaohs of Egypt, who have overtaken the Black Stars and now have seven trophies.

History Repeating Itself

Some people say “another name of time is history”, but I believe history is timeless and can have a ripple effect on the future. This is why the future can be greatly represented by the history of events. Unfortunately, the history of the Black Stars seem to be in tandem with only one side of the equation, and not the other. Mainly showcasing the negative performance history traits and not the good ones. What do I mean by that?

Recently, they lost most of the football matches they played against opposing teams, most of whom were those they won against in the immediate past. Their worst performances in many encounters were drawn games when they played away games from home.

Living on past glory, ‘A lame dark’?

A good example is the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying game involving the Black Stars and the Pharaohs of Egypt. The game ended 6-1 in favour of Ghana, while the return encounter resulted in a 2-1 slim win for Egypt. This history was in tandem with the team’s performances due to the dexterity and consistency they exhibited.

The Black Stars rather fell on the bad side of history when the repetition of the Senegal 1992 AFCON penalty loss was occasioned in the AFCON 2015 against Cote D’Voire, and thus setting the pace for the norm rather than an exception of losing to even “smaller” teams in a sequential fashion and rather bizarre circumstances.

Brazil 2014 World Cup investigation committee Report, now or never

Is another investigation into the Black Stars AFCON-2023 saga looming? Or is there any truth in the grapevine information concerning the dissolution of the 5-member committee to recruit the Black Stars Coach.? Or the whooping US$8.5 million budget for the AFCON 2023 campaign?

Lending credence to the assertions made by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tong. “That committee that they have set up should be disbanded, we don’t need to be rushing for coaches, how many coaches are we going to have within a few months.”

Sadly, not even the success of the Black Stars at the 2010 World Cup, coupled with Uruguay’s Suarez’s debacle, which sadly was also repeated like in a movie-playback fashion in the Quatar 2022 World Cup. Owing to these and many other factors like sacking of coaches and allegations of bribery, corruption and conflict of interest being exhibited by some management members of Ghana Football Association-GFA, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This then prompted the FA to declare that it will “provide a roadmap on the future of the Black Stars in the upcoming days.”

Moreover, It will be hard to remove the tag of the Black Stars only living in past glory and susceptible and therefore can be dominated by even teams like, Comoros, Cape Verde, Mali, Burkina Faso, Namibia and others, in both home and away games.

Rallying round the Flag

It is a fact that many Ghanaians support the Black Stars for patriotic reasons, and will be willing to forgive and forget the widely reported cases of corruption, grand collusion and the conflict of interest in the administration of Ghana Football Association-GFA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This is why many sponsors commit huge sums of money to the team, and Musicians and the Media also spend a lot in the production of inspirational songs and campaigns eulogizing the Black Stars during competitions.

The ‘Bring Back the Love’ campaign is an agenda that many organizations, groups and individuals threw their weight behind, to whip up public support for the team, but to what end?

Lastly, Brian Rathbone once said, “Wisdom is the reward for surviving our own stupidity.” The wisdom in this is that, much as a lot of water has passed under the bridge, and no immediate solution to salvage our senior national team in sight, there should be no need to despair. We cannot be seen to be rocking the boat at this time nor reinvent the wheel, simply put we should think about the future and put Ghana first.

Those tasked with the administration of the team and fall outside this bracket of loyal, patriotic and competent people should be put in their proper place and history shall judge us all. Let us learn from the words of Vivian Komori who once said that “Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.”

>>>the writer is a worried Ghanaian football enthusiast. He manages Fashat Media Studios, Tamale. He can be reached via [email protected] and or +233 264603454 / +233 546164138

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