‘Olele’ back to the Black Stars? Really! Really, really? Oh my! I exclaimed. I love my country and the Black Stars to a fault. I have fallen ill on account of a Stars loss in times past and in as much as I try to develop a nonchalant attitude, I can’t pretend; I still care. In the quiet of my car, I shook my head and feared the worst for the road which the technical and management team of the Black Stars are treading.
What started out as mere rumour has been given further credence by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwesi Nyantakyi. “With Richard Kingson, you can go and sleep” Nyantakyi strongly commented in a radio interview, further fueling the imminent recall of the veteran goalie. Then there are also reports that ex Captain or is it ‘general’ Captain, John Mensah, who is currently without a club and very inactive, might also be recalled. Well, if you are a stranger in town, you might be wondering why the clamour for Mensah and Kingson. It’s quite simple actually. Ghana has been matched against Egypt in the play off for a place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. That simple pairing is seemingly causing fear and panic within the rank of the Black Stars team and the sudden recourse to these players is a subtle admission that the Black Stars, in its current state, is weaker compared to the Pharoahs from Egypt, hence the need for reinforcements.
Well, that is a position I am strongly against, because I believe, these recalls are risky, unnecessary and knee jerk at best. Pressing the panic button at this last hour, with a few weeks to the first leg in Kumasi, is not the time to be building a ‘new’ team. As I make this assertion my thoughts turn to my uncle, Mr. Saach, who has severally debated me on Black Stars issues; he generally believes that, technical issues like call ups are not straightforward as it may seem and that there are several considerations which should be accommodated. Well, for uncle Saach and company, I respectfully disagree and will prove in a little bit why these intended call ups are unwarranted.
THE KINGSON CALL UP
With 90 caps for Ghana, Richard Paul Franck “Olele” Kingson, has paid his dues to Ghana and is no doubt a legend. When active and in form, Kingson will no doubt always be a good addition to the Black Stars, as he was till July 2011 when he was released by English club Blackpool. Subsequent months without a club and the playing time diminished his ability and he made one gaffe after the other. Norway based Adam Kwarasey and ex Ashantigold goalie Fatua Dauda then took turns to man the posts for Ghana. All this while, Kingson couldn’t secure a club till July this year, 2 long years out, when Cyrus club, Doxa Katokopias
His imminent return apparently is to plug the hole that Kwarasey and Dauda have seemingly not been able to fill; really!! So, it is true that Kwarasey has had his shaky moments in goal just as Daudu recently after his move to Orlando Pirates and both have not necessarily inspired confidence whilst in post.
But are the handlers of the Black Stars imputing with the imminent call up of ‘Olele’ that Kwarasey and Dauda have sunk so low that, ‘Olele’ after having played just 270 minutes of football in 2 years and conceding 6 goals in Cyprus of all places is better placed to man the posts versus Egypt? Oh, I can almost hear the argument; he conceding 6 might be a result of a bad defense in front of him.
And I say ‘exactly’.
Exactly because, in as much as we criticize Kwarasey and Dauda, can we absolve the defense of the part they have played in Kwarasey’s and Dauda’s seeming unease in goal? You know what they say “a goalie as good as the defense that shields him”, which naturally brings into question, the output of the defense.
THE MENSAH CALL UP
John Mensah, formerly known as ‘the Rock of Gibraltar’, after Emmanuel Armah and Frimpong Manso, has been one of my favourite defenders ever to have featured for the Black Stars.
When fit, John imposes himself, reads well and is a master organizer at the back. It is the reason why he featured 79 times for Ghana. When fit, I will pick John Mensah any day. However, John has battled injuries and has been inactive for a while; the last time he played was in May.
His supposed call up, apparently is to bring some stability to the Black Stars back line. The Stars defense have been all over the place in recent matches exhibiting poor judgment and communication and a general lack of organization. Key word is organization.
It is the lack of it that has made the Stars look so poor defensively and not the quality of the personnel. Surely Jonathan Mensah and John Boye individually are talented enough and with a proper technical direction should be able to hold their own against the best of the world and for that matter the best from Egypt.
Let’s look back to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when Ghana played Australia; can you imagine that Ghana fielded two rookies in Jonathan Mensah and Lee Addy?
But because coach Milovan Rajevac so organized the whole team to defend and play as a unit, Jonathan and Addy’s frailties were minimized and they had a decent game. Technical organization is what the Black Stars need in defense not the return of rusty John Mensah.
These intended call ups, if they are actually made, will set the team back and paint the picture of a lack of direction and purpose. It is time we made team building a priority; we have wasted enough time chasing after so called star players and now that we have them, why do we still want to go back for Olele and Mensah? We do because we have realized our collection of stars aren’t enough to beat the team that Egypt is. So, let’s continue and give confidence to players that we have and build a team. This new road of going back for players past their prime will not help; if that is the direction the Stars are intent on pursuing, then we might as well bring back Milovan Rajevac while we are at it. Uncle Saach, surely that is good judgment and not the hot blood speaking. Or is it?
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