Ghanaians aren’t nostalgic for the benighted days when a perceived Kwesi Appiah-Abedi Pele Captaincy row affected the Black Stars so badly that the otherwise golden team of talented individuals never won us gold. Coach Kwesi Appiah will do himself and those of us who supported his second coming a lot of good if he stays away from the Asamoah Gyan-Dede Ayew politics.
Kwesi’s is to manage the situation and make sure the talents of these players are put to good use for the general good of Mother Ghana. Dropping the Ayews and retaining Asamoah Gyan will amount to igniting fire and stoking whilst there is no meal to cook. Let me make it clear however that I am not in support of a group of Ghanaians who have forgotten so soon that Dede Ayew was the main architect behind Kwesi Nyantekyi’s only recognized silverware as the GFA president for Twelve (12) good years-the Under 20 world cup; neither do I belong to the group that have been so ungrateful to remember that Asamoah Gyan’s one goal project propelled the Black Stars to our maiden quarter final berth during the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
I am of the opinion that Coach Kwesi Appiah should prove to us that he is a top notch manager and that he can bring unity to the team and manage the egos of the two players and get them commit to his cause.
During his unveiling recently, Coach Kwesi Appiah made us believe that he has learnt his mistakes and to quote him: “I have learnt a lot. There are so many mistakes I believe I did the other time and I will not repeat them” If these quotes are anything to go by then dropping the Ayews and retaining Asamoah Gyan is a direct contradiction. Under his tenure as Black Stars coach a few years ago, these same Ayew Brothers left the team under very bizarre circumstances and it took political intervention for them to return. If Coach Kwesi Appiah has learnt his lessons as he is making us believe, why drop them again under the current circumstances. Of course, the prerogative as to which player to invite and leave out, rest with the coach but there should be justifiable reasons but not to wade into an existing political feud between the Ayews and Asamoah Gyan.
If the public perception that the rift between the two players is creating problems, why drop one and keep the other? Has Coach Akwesi Appiah taken sides already? Probably there is another reason I am not privy to.
If you have taken sides, then Mr. Coach I think your choice is wrong. Not because Asamoah Gyan is a bad player, far from that, but the fact is that no manager worth his salt will build his team around an ageing player. It is the reason why 18-year old Kylian Mbappe is pretty much expensive in terms of value today than a celebrated guerrilla Cristiano Ronaldo. I am sorry coach, but you have only one choice to make: to unite the team and manage the egos of the two or kick out the older one. It will be suicidal for coach Kwesi Appiah to permanently keep the Ayews out of his team and retain ageing Asamoah Gyan as a bird has whispered into my ears.
Having publicly defended Asamoah Gyan’s branding of the Captain’s armband albeit it controverts FIFA rules, Coach kwesi Appiah created a very wrong impression in the eyes of right thinking members of society and followers of the game. Many were wondering, could it be a deliberate attempt by the coach to defend the indefensible or sheer ignorance? Indeed staunch supporters of Asamoah Gyan who tried hard to justify that ungodly act could cite only club examples.
Try as they did, they could not cite a single national team example to buttress their claims. The Black Stars team is regarded as apolitical and a strong tool for national unity but I am afraid some of my Muslim brothers have started reading meanings into how the Moslems in the team are accidentally losing their positions citing Adam Kwarasey, Majeed Waris, Mubarak Wakasu, Rasheed Sumaila, and recently Jordan and Dede Ayew. Such wild claims should not be entertained within the corridors of football-never, but the recent ousting of the Ayew Brothers seems to feed into such wild allegations. The proponents of these wild allegations are pointing accusing fingers at Coach Kwesi Appiah although some of the issues are not wholly true.
In a country where politics of patronage has become an integral part of our body politics, Coach Kwesi Appiah will do himself and those of us who supported his second coming a lot of good if he stayed away from the politics of the team especially the one involving the Ayews and Asamoah Gyan.
Believe it or not, some Ghanaians are of the opinion that Coach Kwesi Appiah holds grudges against Abedi Pele over the Senegal 1992 captaincy issue and an opportunity to take over the Black Stars coaching reign is suitable for a pay back on Abedi Pele’s ‘kids’, a notion that Coach Kwesi Appiah has found it difficult to dispel from the minds of people despite several public denials. The current happenings will undoubtedly bring back that unending debate and further create unnecessary tension around the team. This in my estimation is unnecessary and could have been avoided.
Football administrators claim the game is devoid of politics but in reality they are bedfellows. Happenstances in the body politics of every country around the world sometimes have direct influence on the pitch of play and vice versa. A smart coach will however play it safe to safeguard his job by creating a fair balance. For instance, it took direct pressure from the former American President Kennedy’s administration to get Washington to sign Bobby Mitchell, a halfback and future Hall of Fame inductee, in 1962.
Same could be said of the inclusion of Roger Milla in the Cameroonian national team ahead of World cup 1990. Of course, the return of Asamoah Gyan and the Ayew brothers after their respective voluntary retirements took political twists. Coach Kwesi Appiah should therefore stay away from the politics of these two players and harness their talents for his benefit and that of the nation at large. Drop both players as a disciplinary measure if you want to be seen as fair and firm or manage and massage the egos of both. Siding with one of them is suicidal.
By Dan Kweku Yeboah