I am not sure if there will be enough horses to donate their placentas to mend all the hearts Goran Stevanovic could be breaking when the 2012 African Nations Cup kicks off.
After a rather uninspiring 1-1 drawn trial game with a South Africa, many have started tossing the idea of entering full panic mode in their minds.
More so when the South African looked more like a collection of male models displaying their country’s new kits than footballers.
Under normal circumstances, one should not be bothered about such low profile training games. Friendly games are to be taken for what they are – frieldlies! No need for panic.
But people’s fears cannot be more legitimate. After 30 years without trophies, things should have looked better going into the tournament. Let me indulge you with some of the obvious.
We have to cope with 3 strikers (others have up to 7). No one knows when Gyan can make a full recovery. Tagoe has obvious form, skill and motivational difficulties. Jordan’s potential is yet to materialise; and this is his first major tournament (Jordan).
If you think that was the tough, read on: We are saddled with two inexperienced left backs (Massahudu and Opare); a canter back who is banned a couple of games (Vorsah), another center back who breaks down after very game (John Mensah); yet another center back who has not played active football in God-knows-how-many-months (Jonathan Mensah).
The only attacking midfielder we have trusted over the period (Kwadwo Asamoah) is yet to step up the big stage. There are no natural wingers or ball jugglers. Still not panicking yet?
Various levels of panic have accompanied Ghanaian team to every tournament. If fans don’t find fault with the ability of the coach, they will find a player or two to build their fears around. Sometimes, with the collaboration of false media reports, fans find one or two imaginary camp conditions to use as excuse for panic.
The famous ‘…our team is divided’; ‘…the boys are chasing girls instead of focusing’ etc will always show up as Ghana goes to another tournament with the same feelings of doubt.
Justified as some of these doubts may be, one of the many overlooked attributes of the current Black Stars is a certain hunger for silveware before the old generation passes.
Richard Kingson, the last remaining face of the 1990s generation, has already been retired. That generation played more passionately than any other after then yet won nothing.
In their peak, Generation 2000 gave Ghanaians many moments to cheer about. A silver medal at the World Youth Championship in 2001 heralded their advent. Memories of the exploits of the legendary midfield quartet – Stephen Appiah, Michael Essien, Richard Kingston and Sulley Ali Muntari – have now reach mythological proportions.
That debute world cup which brought joy to many households can not be forgotten either. But like their predecessors, Generation 2000 failed to win trophies; even on home soil in 2008.
Already, the faces of the 2000s are being replaced with potential-laded kids of Generation 2010s and beyond. Realistically, CAN 2012, CAN 2013 and World Cup 2014 represent the last three chances for the so-called ‘senior’ players to win a trophy. Since most of them are in the twilight of their careers, a safe bet cannot be placed on CAN 2013 and beyond.
This is why players like John Paintsil, John Mensah, Derek Boateng, Sulley Muntari and perhaps the mid 2000s crew of Anthony Annan, Prince Tagoe, Kwadwo Asamoah and Isaac Vorsah, co appear to be so driven. Hopefully, they will channel this drive into results.
The hope is that they will be ably supported by a golden generation of proven winners. Andre Ayew, Samuel Inkoom, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Adjei, Daniel Opare, Emmanuel Agyeman-Badu who characterise the face of the 2010s have already brought home the World Youth Trophy and an ANC silver medal.
Long Live Ghana! Go Black Stars!