Kevin-Prince Boateng and Michael Ballack – What’s the fuss about?

Clearly, German’s are angry. Following Kevin-Prince Boateng’s tackle on Michael Ballack, which left him with an ankle injury; German football fans have thrown tantrums all week. One cannot blame them. They are in pain. Their team captain has been as some put it, ‘intentionally’ prevented from leading them to battle at the South Africa 2010 World Cup.

The fact that Boateng is a member of Team Ghana, who are in the same group with Germany in the World Cup makes the Germans even more irritated. Boateng’s half German status has not helped matters. The general feeling is one of being ‘pricked in the eye’ by one of their kind.

This week, the Ballack-Boateng issue has dominated discussions all over the world. Basically, Boateng has been at the receiving end of the rod. He is a virtual anathemaan enemy of the state! The reason is quite straightforward albeit hard to ascertain: Boateng intentionally injured Ballack with a motive of either retaliating a slap he received from Ballack earlier on in the game or to give Ghana an advantage ahead of their June 23, 2010 World Cup match with Germany. How people managed to read Boateng’s intentions remains mystery.

‘There is my foul on the one hand and his slap on the other, and I think that violent conduct is far worse than a foul. Ballack really does surprise me. He complains for weeks when (Lukas) Podolski slaps him and yet he does it himself. He is no better than Podolski. What kind of behaviour is that? ~ Kevin-Prince Boateng

In all of this hot circular fuss, the question of interest has bordered on who benefits from this injury. Talk of how Germany’s Group D opponents, especially Ghana might benefit from this injury has dominated sports circles. It beggars belief though how anyone will even begin to imagine that just the absence of Ballack will make Germany such a weak side.

People must be delusional if they think that a team of old, worn out and injury-laden players which doesn’t see the need to camp early will just gain the advantage over Germany just because one German player COULD miss the game.

Blame all of this on the press. Of course they have not disappointed. They have milked the story dry; turning what appears to be a molehill into an escarpment. Not a single day passes without the press pushing one twist or the other of this issue down the throat of the generable public who of course gullibly get sucked into endless post-mortems.

To be honest with you, too much is being read into what appears to be a simple tackle gone bad. Boateng’s challenge was late, violent and uncalled for and he has a not-very palatable history of violence. But he has done the right thing by offering an apology. Stuff happens! Nature has a very worrying way of raining on people’s parade. The lot fell on poor Ballack this time, just as it fell on Mac Vivien Foe and many who have been at the receiving end of worse football-related fatalities.

Ballack and the Germans should just deal with it. Given that Ballack himself has the tendency of slapping and kicking fellow players as well as chasing referees about, I should think he knows how to handle this with a level head. In which spirit he must have said: “Of course I am very angry and disappointed but in football one should let it go.”

Buried somewhere in this much ado about nothing is the news that Ballack could make it to the World Cup after all. It makes one wonder what this whole fuss is about!


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