Hon. Elvis Ankrah & Hon. Joseph YaminThe Black Stars Brazil World Cup Campaign in ?Retrospect

President John Mahama?s recent reshuffle of his ministers is presumably an admission that certain ministers have not performed to his satisfaction in sectors where changes have been effected, especially the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It is also true that the reshuffling of ministers could also be due to factors other than non-performance of ministers. Whatever maybe the reason for reshuffling of the ministers, the objective should be to achieve better results in the implementation of Government policies and programmes in order to satisfy the aspirations of the people.

What the President should however avoid is the perception of a kneejerk reaction to any changes in his ministerial team. In other words, ministerial changes should be made after detailed analyses of performance have been conducted. This is to avoid the perception that the President can be instigated to easily change ministers based on few issues that have captured media headlines.

The recent reassignment of the sports minister and his deputy is a decision of the President which could have been taken with more circumspection than was exhibited.

Firstly, the President could have waited for the Sports Minister to arrive back home and requested a full official report from the minister regarding Ghana?s participation at the World Cup in Brazil. This would have enabled him to obtain the full compliment of developments and issues that plagued Ghana?s participation at the event before taking a decision on the ministers culpability or otherwise. Secondly, the rush to remove the minister feeds into the perception that the government is to be blamed for all the negatives of Ghana?s Brazil World Cup campaign, since the minister represents Government. It is obvious however that Ghana?s failure in Brazil is due much more to football management and technical issues which are largely outside the control of government ministers. In as much as we have the Ghana Football Association (GFA) executives and management committee members in place, lapses in player management fall largely on their shoulders. With regard to football related technical lapses, it is the coach of the Black Stars, his technical team, and the players who should bear the blame for the poor results in Brazil and not the minister. The minister?s failings relate more to supporter groups? organizational issues, and issues which do not generally affect player performances in matches.

Indiscipline and negative character traits as exhibited by some of the players should have been anticipated and better managed by the GFA executives and management committee officials headed by the GFA President.

The coach also failed to exhibit good leadership in his handling of the team as exhibited in his preparation of the team prior to the tournament, and also during the tournament especially when his crisis management ability was put to the test. The team?s consistent pattern of conceding early goals indicates that the coach and the technical team lacked the ability to prepare the team mentally for the games at the world cup level. The performance of certain players at the Brazil world cup also brought into question the coach?s ability to fully assess players for inclusion in the team for the World Cup.

John Boye?s inclusion in the team in a key defensive position was exposed as an incorrect ?decision, considering the defensive lapses that he exhibited at this level (world cup) that contributed to Ghana?s defeat against the USA and Portugal in his crucial mistimed headers and own goal. Despite having a relatively good game against Portugal, Fatau Dauda?s punch of the ball into the ground in his penalty box which was capitalized on by Ronaldo for an easy goal was unpardonable at this high level of soccer competition. Daniel Opare?s inclusion in the USA game when he had not been featured in any of the preparatory matches was a poor decision by the coach as reflected in his defensive lapse that resulted in the early USA goal. Generally, the team?s technical preparation was poor, and the coach and his technical team are to be blamed for this not any minister or Government officials.

A key issue that needs to be addressed arising out of the Black stars failure in Brazil is therefore that of player selection into the various national teams. It is obvious that there is a lot of manipulation and corruption in this key area leading to certain players getting on to the national team who should not be included, resulting in poor performances of the national teams. In effect, we need to ensure that the best talents that the country has available get on to the national teams, and not players with linkages to key officials of the GFA and management team officials in order to ensure a high level of performance for our teams at all levels. Remember, key officials of the GFA are team owners leading to possible conflict of interest and corruption temptations in player selection.

The issue of the transportation of the US$3Million to the players arose out of a shameful act of blackmail that was perpetrated on the country and government by the players, who lost every sense of patriotism for their country, and took pride in kissing dollars instead. Those players and officials who instigated this blackmail should be flushed out and never be made to get near the Black Stars anymore.

In conclusion, the President?s decision to reshuffle the two ministers of sports has been taken. Unfortunately, by the decision, the two sports ministers and the Government in general have been made to look as though they were responsible for the Black Stars poor result in Brazil. However, the real culprits of the Black stars poor showing in Brazil are the GFA officials, the coach, his technical team, and some recalcitrant players. Any solutions going forward should therefore require that the Black Stars be examined in the relevant quarters if we are to really improve the team for better results in future. We should for instance examine in detail the GFA organization, and how their ?mafia- like? actions are preventing the real talents in Ghana football from entering the team to the detriment of mother Ghana.

Remember, Football has become Ghanaians? favorite entertainment and a platform for the country?s unification.

God bless our Nation Ghana, Long Live Ghana Black Stars.

Report By:

Mensah Dekportor (Hamburg-Germany)

Email: [email protected]? Tel.:+49(0)15218405629 / +49(0)17634165647

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