04
Nov
09

Black Stars – The dawn of a new era?


Black Stars

Black Stars

Three refreshing and somewhat related news items have triggered a chain of wishful thoughts in my mind these past few days. First, Stephen Appiah has finally signed for Bologna after several months without club action. He can finally

Dominic Adiyiah gets the recognition for the foundations of hard work he laid from his Feteh Feyenoord Academy background through his limelight moments at Heart of Lions to his glorious performances for Ghana’s U-20 at Egypt 2009. He gets the chance to grow younger at A.C. Milan – where the stars never grow old.

Then, the icing on the cake! Milovan Rajevac has gone shopping in Sellas Tetteh’s store of stars – six U-20 players have been invited to play against Mali at Babayara Stadium on the 15th of November. whethere we like it or not, the years pass by, times change and a new era begins. we may be witnessing the dawn of a new era! A watershed moment!

In 2001/2002, Ghana witnessed one such turning point after Mr. Ben Kuoffi (then GFA boss) and Mr. Fred Osam Duodu (then Black Stars coach) thought they had had enough of what was then a Black Stars which had lost almost all of it’s shine. They went for the plunge. They went shopping in E.K. Afranie’s silver-medal-winning U-20 squad. This switch laid the foundation for the success story of the modern Black Stars.

Change is good. It was Harold Wilson who once noted that “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” Life is a changing process of ‘Tear this out. Throw that away. Replace this one with something else.’

Although change is a world-accepted principle, it can be a difficult choice to make. Especially for football coaches whose stock-in-trade is an unaltered winning formula (a fluid balance of a fit team sheet, difficult to undo strategy and a sharp tactical outlook).

This is the more reason why Milovan deserves some credit for ceasing the opportunity (provided by Ghana’s early qualification) to alter things around a bit. Change is the way to go. The painful truth is that we cannot continue to rely on our aging and injury-prone players forever.

In as much as these Black Stars have served Ghana well, it is about time we started looking ahead. They may still have some tricks up their sleeves and tons of experience, but football doesn’t favour age. A time comes when age says enough of you. Even the venerable Sir. Stanley Matthews and the ubiquitous Paolo Maldini, had to bow out at one time. So will Clarence Seedorf!

The way to go is therefore to gradually integrate those young players who have announced to the depth of their potential and the height of their fortitude into the Black Stars. I have no doubts whatsoever that Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Addo, Andre Ayew, Agyemang Badu, Dominic Adiyiah and Daniel Adjei are capable of bearing the cross that Milovan has inevitably strapped to their backs. but they should be reminded that this is not child’s play. The children’s games are over!

Ghana has been through this path before. We should not have a hard time succeeding with this change over. I am however grossly disappointed David Nii Ady, the Randers FC star was not given this opportunity. In my opinion, he might be better than Lee Addey. Even if he is not, unless I am dead wrong, it strikes me as odd to see that Lee Addey is the only left full back in a team that has four center backs and two full right full backs.

Is it not also rather strange that Rahim Ayew (who by the way deserves his place in the Black Stars) should be invited as a striker for the Black Stars while Eric Bekoe is not? Playing in the same Egyptian league with rahim, Bekoe has scored seven goals out of eight games. Maybe someone can help me to remember how many Egypt Premier League goals Rahim has scored this season.

Watershed moments are always vital for development. however, if football officials will continually turn a blind eye to deserving players, these moments may not take us beyond one or two nice world cup games.

With less than two months to Angola 2010, it is only fair to ask that such talents as Prince Buaben, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, David Nii Addy, Nana Kwasi Asare, Eric Bekoe be given the chance to prove their worth. What will these become if they are given the same nurturing time Anthony Annan has been given over the past few years?

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