Editorial: 3-0 mauling must send strong warning to Okraku
Football-crazy Ghanaians are still seething with anger over the 3-0 drubbing handed the Black Stars of Ghana in their friendly with the Eagles of Mali on Friday. The score-line was awful to the large army of supporters back home and throughout the world. But, what has really annoyed most Ghanaians was the insipid performance displayed by the men under the care of national Coach Charles Kwabla Akonnor.
The players lacked charisma, failed woefully to give any indication of a team prepared to face Sudan in the African Cup of Nations qualifier at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile, just outside Khartoum, next month, and were a total embarrassment to the men and women inhabiting the centre of the earth.
When the job of leading the technical build-up of the national team was handed to Mr. Akonnor, one-time captain of the national team, he promised to make Ghanaians proud by fielding a side that would bring back the smiles back on their faces. His first attempt was pathetic, to state the least.
The Chronicle believes that Ghanaians are justifiably right to wear long faces after that awful display. And that somebody has to own up for messing all of us up. The coach and those who appointed him should take the chunk of the blame for the mess.
What should really worry Ghanaians is that Mr. Akonnor is pointing to the wrong direction for the shame at the Emir Sports Complex in Istanbul, the capital city of Turkey, on Friday.
According to the Coach, there was no cohesion and order in the Black Stars play because time for preparations was short. Read the lips of the national coach: “I won’t blame the players for the defeat, but the key thing resulting in our loss to Mali was that the team was not organised. The players did not know themselves, because most of them were debutants, and even the first time they’re playing together,” Mr. Akonnor told local newsmen after the match.
“We trained for only two days and there was lack of understanding as well. These were the few things that affected us during the game. Mali did not play anything extraordinary, but they were an organised side, which handed them the victory.”
Like most Ghanaians, The Chronicle cannot claim to be the originator of any coaching module, but we know when players and their technical handlers have flopped. On Friday, the Black Stars were in sixes and sevens on the pitch.
One other thing we know is that no national team is going to be given a whole year to prepare for international engagements any more. All national teams ought to get ready within the two or three days of the international break from the various leagues for international assignments. You either have a team or you do not.
That is why it would be in the interest of Mr. Akonnor to get on with the job and deliver, or give way, if he believes the task is above him.
In the absence of wars of conquests, sports, and particularly football, has come to represent one of the major means of uplifting a nation. Twice, in the 2006 and 2010 World cups, this country accounted for the almighty United States on the field of play. The joy to the good people at the centre of the earth knew no bounds.
Football is one game that has given the average Ghanaian so much to smile about in the comity of nations, in spite of our dodgy economic circumstances. This nation is two times World Under-17 champions. We won in Italy ’91 and Equador ’95. We are the first black African nation to win an Olympic medal in Spain ‘92
To date, Ghana, formerly called the Gold Coast, is the only African nation to win the World Cup at the Under 20 level. The Black Satellites beat almighty Brazil in the finals in Egypt 2009. The famed Black Stars are four times champions of Africa.
We have a reputation to protect. That is why the Ghana Football Association ought to be careful in deciding who does what at Football House in Accra.
The Chronicle is seriously offended by the decision of Mr. Kurt Simon Edwin Okraku and his Ghana Football Association to ignore all qualified coaches in the country, and against all conventional wisdom, brought in a German, Bernard Lipper, to head the Technical Directorate of Ghana football. We are of the view that Mr. Okraku has shot Ghana football in the foot.
Within the short period that he came to lead Ghana football from the front, Mr. Okraku has succeeded in building a family and friend dynasty at Football House.
He is on notice to amend his ways or he would be overtaken by events beyond his control.
The 3-0 drubbing of Ghana should clearly advertise in his ears that Mr. Okraku is on a wrong footing.