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Ghana’s Black Stars strategy is like blowing cash at a strip club hoping one follows you home - ɛnfa!

ACCRA, GHANA: The $25 million funding for the Black Stars is not what this country needs now. Although Ghanaians love football, the emotional exploitation is too much - especially in these hard times.

Ghana’s Black Stars strategy is like blowing cash at a strip club hoping one follows you home - ɛnfa!

During the month of fast in the year of our Lord 2021, a young lived.

In the adventure of what young men do, he sought to spend some time with a damsel in what could be termed a date. The young man was well to do.

At a time when the official remuneration from the overlord for people who had completed their training to serve the country with their might and strength was 700 coloured paper sheets for 30 days of work, this young man had 500 coloured paper sheets to spare on a night.

He was enthusiastically hopeful that his time with the damsel would yield the perfect results of calming his ‘brims’. At the end of the night, those expectations were dashed. However, the young man was calm. 500 coloured paper sheets were nothing compared to the returns he had planned for. But not for any other extra cost after seeing the eventual outcome.

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So when another bill of 46 coloured paper sheets was sent his way by this same damsel, heaven literally broke loose.

Many who lived near and far supported the young man for being furious.

Not a single person who ever lived in history would continuously pursue an agenda with the same strategy that has no immediate or long-term benefit. Legend has it that, had the outcome of the 500 coloured paper sheets been different, the subsequent 46 coloured paper sheets would have been a chicken change. You only spend more where there are more gains - this is the moral of the story of the young man and the damsel.

But Ghana Black Stars and its handling by the government is different and painfully so.

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Albert Einstein is widely credited with one popular definition of insanity which is “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Going by that standard, the strategy in managing Ghana’s affairs when it comes to the senior national team has been that of a deranged nation.

Ghana has not won a major trophy in almost four decades with the last coming in 1982 after being crowned champions at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Since then, one of the key highlights of Ghana’s football performance for the senior national team that came with the same euphoria as winning a trophy was a qualification to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

The West African nation despite the drought of winning a trophy had seen it all in international football but qualification to a FIFA World Cup.

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It made that moment in 2006 special and rightly so. Every Ghanaian who was of age at the time of qualification in that game against South Africa would remember where they were (where they watched the game) as Ghana got their first ticket to a FIFA World Cup.

Being the first of its kind, the country had a plan to make players and the team as comfortable as they could. The solemn sound of politics that has drenched Ghana since independence also made its waves in there as to whose government secured a first World Cup trip for Ghana.

It was obvious players and technical staff who made it to this FIFA World Cup were spoiled like kids in an episode of ‘The Rich Kids of Gold Coast - World Cup Edition’.

Ghanaians didn’t care a lot because this feat took the love of football to different heights. Also, there was no data to prove if this system of football management was the right motivation to reach greater heights. A qualification from the group stage only to be eliminated by world heavyweight Brazil meant the Black Stars had exceeded expectations in their first stint.

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These players were heroes. Their welcome, rapturous.

A repetition of the same format for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008 which was hosted by Ghana gave us early signs of a flawed strategy but the entire nation was mostly drunk on the illusion of Black Stars gains rather than finding an ideal way that works.

2010 had its mixed signals during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa but the progress was good. A penalty away from the semi-final was the antidote to a united outrage. Also, with a different government from the one that saw Ghana’s first qualification, there was the need for this government to prove itself that it was capable of managing the affairs of the Black Stars, maybe better than the previous had done. And the Black Stars manipulated this advantage to their favour.

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All of a sudden the atmosphere surrounding representing Ghana on the football stage had changed. It was no longer about the pride of putting on a national shirt but pride of stacking up the dollar bills.

Don’t get it wrong. As professional players, no player should be denied payment for what is also a work duty and not just love for a nation. However, anyone who runs a business knows the basic rule that you can’t spend more than you earn. And that is how the Black Stars should have been run - like a national business!

These perpetuations gradually matured to put Ghana on the world map in all the wrong ways there are in football at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, a story which was worthy of a Hollywood movie mostly based on fiction. Unfortunately, this was Ghana’s reality out of a true story.

From players refusing to train, a fallout with management, our hotel camp chaos reverberating across the cities of Brazil to a Ghanaian player kissing a stack of dollars rather than his Black Stars jersey for scoring on all the major TV and news outlets across the globe, Ghana literally aired her dirty laundry in the sky like the private jet that sent physical cash from the West African country to South America.

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Performance was poor. The attitude was abysmal. In general terms, the 2014 FIFA World Cup for Ghana was as bad as any nation could get at an international tournament.

Reports and stories from the enquiries that followed on national TV should have been the catalyst that fixed this problem.

But as stated, politics would always have an undertone in these things.

Every government wants the accolades that may come with ending Ghana’s long drought of winning a major trophy. However, no government wants to put proper plans in aiding the team to achieve and sustain the progress made.

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Their go-to solution is throwing some dollars at specific events like a young man at a strip club and hoping by the close of day one beautiful striper follows them home. That AFCON trophy won’t follow you home. Neither will the FIFA World Cup.

Football development that yields results are a long term project. It’s been almost 7 years since Ghana’s atrocious dealings in Brazil.

Seven years on, and we arguably have a poorer team than the one that disgraced the nation in Brazil.

Seven years on, and we have football fans who find it difficult to see the shining light in a very bleak future.

There is no proper planning. Just a promise of cash and vibes with a touch of tantrums from players here and there to give juicy headlines since the football itself is not working to write about.

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Unfortunately, this would take a long time to change.

On Monday, April 26, 2021, the government of Ghana committed 10 million dollars out of 25 million dollars to fund the Black Stars’ participation at the Africa Cup of Nations 2022 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

This would have been a welcomed idea but for many of the unfortunate experiences in the country plus the data available for this method of trying to win a trophy.

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Ghana is currently crippled with a host of power issues that are vehemently frustrating the citizenry and killing small businesses in financial terms. The COVID-19 relief package that included free water and electricity for a period of time in 2020 is now a national debate as Ghanaians lament about the introduction of new taxes.

A few weeks ago, footages of new mothers lying on the bare floor with their babies who are less than a week old went viral.

The government knows its power when it decides to source funds from Cooperate Ghana and plays into that book when they want. How about asking Cooperate Ghana to support with beds for these mothers? Or the many children who still do not have access to quality education and healthcare in various parts of the country?

This strategy of forcefully finding money the nation does not have to support the Black Stars is deeply rooted in the ‘IT WAS DONE IN MY TIME’ and has been obvious since Ghana qualified for her first World Cup.

Sadly, the present $25 million funding for AFCON 2022 and the World Cup qualifiers hit the nerves painfully as football is at a place where critical and analytical investments are the only options. Returns on investment in football are hard to come by due to the impact of coronavirus COVID-19.

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Genuinely, we all know that this is a highly risky investment because quite frankly ɛnfa! But it’s all vibes.

The target is to bring the cup home by winning the AFCON 2022. We must go a step further than our second-place finishes in 1992, 2010 and 2015 and end the 40-year drought for a title,” the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said.

We must also reach at least the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. Our exploits in 2010, where we reached the quarter-finals in South Africa, tell us that once prepared, we have the quality and the talent to match any of the best teams in the world.

The task might seem daunting, but it is exactly not insurmountable,” he added.

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What the president failed to acknowledge is that our exploits in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and all the Africa Cup of Nations tournament we threw money at, shows that of a young man blowing the cash at a strip club in the hope that one stripper follows him home to get married. It does not work that way and so is the current plan to end our 39-year major trophy drought.

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