Kwesi Asomadu of www.footyghana.com reports that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not particularly in favour of his midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong’s switch of nationality from England to Ghana. What were his reasons? Wenger is quoted as saying that: “Personally it would be geographically easier if Frimpong plays for England, but you have to respect the gut feeling of the boy.”
Maybe Wenger was speaking this on a lighter note. Otherwise, for a player in demand by his country of birth, Wenger did not possibly expect Frimpong to turn Ghana down in hope of playing for a nation he might never have the chance of representing.
What exactly did Wenger mean by geographic reasons anyway? Is it the seeming stress or risk of touring Africa to play on poor pitches during qualifiers? Is it the thought that if he opts for Ghana he will be away for the Nations Cup in the January of 2012, 2013 and every other year until he retires? Perhaps Wenger was referring to the human geography of demography and estimating that the Black Stars houses too many defensive midfielders and Frimpong may not be able to compete.
Whatever geography means to Wenger, he has had his say, now Frimpong has chosen his way. He will play for Ghana whether or not it is geographically correct. Choosing his country of birth is not only a patriotic thing to do but also, a strategically advantageous move.
Let us take the issue of winning cups for instance. There is no gain saying that all players love trophies. But in his peculiar circumstance of being an Arsenal player Frimpong may not be winning cups in a long time. He must therefore be thinking of alternative ways if winning trophies. Frimpong therefore had at least one of three options of winning cups – leave Arsenal; play for England or play for Ghana.
Having been at Arsenal since he was nine, we can safely assume he will be reluctant to leave. He is thus left with a choice between England and Ghana. The problem with choosing England is that even their own former captain and talisman Gary Neville thinks it is a waste of time playing for England and that the English will never smell the scent of a trophy in the next decade. I wouldn’t switch to such a team. Ghana becomes a viable option for tasting glory.
Ghana, in contrast, is an African super power and a major contender for the 2012 and 2013 CAF African Nation’s Cups. Under Goran Stevanovic, the Black Stars is shedding off older players and building for the Brazil 2014 World Cup with talented youth. Frimpong will fit perfectly into this new team as they challenge for the ultimate glory.
In our rich culture, we say that no man who is right upstairs directs people to his father’s house with his left hand. So Geography or not, Frimpong has made the right choice opting for the country of his birth and we welcome him with both hands.