Editorial: Are the attacks on Dede Ayew justified?

When the former Captain of the senior national soccer team, Asamoah Gyan, missed the penalty kick that would have qualified Ghana to the Semi-Finals during the 2010 World Cup, hosted by South Africa, he came under severe attacks back home.

In fact, some of the commentaries went beyond criticisms to outright insults being rained on the footballer and his family. After this incident, Asamoah Gyan, two years later, missed another penalty against Zambia in the 2012 AFCON, hosted by Equatorial Guinea. Ghanaians did not spare him for the unfortunate miss.

Asamoah Gyan’s mother, who could no more take the harsh criticisms on her son, reportedly advised him (Asamoah) to stop taking penalty kicks for the Black Stars. The footballer respected the advice of his mom and refused to take penalty kicks anytime he played for the national team. It was during the latter part of his illustrious career that he started taking spot kicks again.

Obviously, Ghanaians were peeved that Asamoah could not score from the spot kick to enable Ghana qualified for the semi-finals and make history as the first African country to reach that level. Here is a player who has played and scored many important goals for his country, but Ghanaians did not take these achievements into consideration, and rather descended heavily on him.

Twelve years down memory lane, the current skipper of the team, Andre Morgan Ayew, son of one of Ghana’s football legends, Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’, has also suffered the same fate.

It is important to note that the infringement that led to the penalty Asamoah unfortunately missed, would have resulted in a goal if Luis Suarez had not stopped the ball from entering the net with his hands.

Because of this vicarious situation, Ghanaians were waiting for the day Ghana will meet Uruguay so that we can also seek revenge. When the two nations – Ghana and Uruguay – by providence, therefore, found themselves in the same group for the ongoing mundial, many were those who thought the opportunity has presented itself for the current crop of Black Stars to seek revenge. Unfortunately, Andre Ayew missed a penalty against the same team that had forced a bitter pill down our throat some twelve years ago.

The penalty miss also changed the course of the game in favor of the South Americans, who went ahead to score two quick goals and kick Ghana out of the tournament.

It was upon the basis of this that Ghanaians, like they did to Asamoah Gyan, have turned their anger on Dede and are pounding him like fufu in public.

Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’, his father, perfectly understands this negative side of football and may not be bothered about the bashing of his son, but what about Dede’s immediate family – wife and children.

Can they take such attacks with ease?  Already, there are reports that Mr Andre Ayew’s seven year old daughter collapsed after her father missed the penalty we are discussing.

If the girl, at this tender age, can collapse because her father missed a penalty kick, what would happen if she hears or reads in the media about the way Ghanaians are attacking her father for that penalty miss?

Yes, Dede like Asamoah Gyan are footballers, but as the Ghanaian adage goes, “it is the one who goes to the river side to fetch water that would break the pot.” The Chronicle does not think both Asamoah Gyan and Dede Ayew would be happy to have missed these penalty kicks.

Ghanaians make mistakes in their work places, but it does not mean they are incompetent. The same people cannot, therefore, cry foul when a footballer makes a mistake.

The Chronicle is, therefore, calling on the football loving fans in the country to tone down on their harsh criticisms of the young man.

If the trend of always attacking footballers anytime they make mistakes continue, a time will come when they (footballers) will also run away from playing for the national team.

Great footballers like Maradona, Baggio, Ronaldo (of Brazil), Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi and a host of others have all missed penalty kicks before, so Asamoah Gyan and Dede are not exceptions. This is another reason why we must tone down with the criticisms of our players anytime they miss the spot kicks.

The game of football at the world cup level involves players representing their nations in tension packed games, sometimes spilling into political rivalries, for instance when U.S.A played Iran in the ongoing world cup.

As a result the margins of error in the games become magnified and we vilify the poor players for very little mistakes, which we all commit in our various spheres of work.

Let us not use a sledge hammer to kill a fly, otherwise, we will demoraliee the players and make them lose interest in playing for the national team.


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