By Ameenu Shardow
Local players in particular are the most victims of this syndrome especially in the aged competitions.
I just can’t fathom why a crop of players will toil and sweat to qualify the nation for a major tournament only for them to be sidelined to make way for the more ‘experienced’ players with foreign (more likely European) clubs.
This then brings me to the question: who should qualify the nation for who to come and play in the competition proper?
This debate has become very necessary especially as it appears the Ghana U-20 team have almost sealed qualification for next year’s African Youth Championships – judging from the resounding 4-1 win over Morocco in the first leg match played in Tamale on Sunday.
The foreign (more likely European) clubs so eloquently quote the FIFA laws that does not obligate them to release players for aged competitions during qualifiers.
Primarily because they wouldn’t want to subject their starlets (who predominantly play in their youth teams) to sometimes the very harsh conditions teams are subjected to during qualifiers.
Even more importantly, they don’t want to release the players in order to prevent likely injuries due to sometimes the highly unfavorable conditions which pertains during qualifiers.
However these same clubs are found not to be as reluctant and unwilling when the national sides eventually seal qualification to major competitions especially World Cups.
Simply because aside the competitions being played in significantly enhanced conditions, there is a huge platform on which players can be well marketed and profiles incredibly boosted.
This brings me to my next question: So aren’t the predominantly local players who we often use in the qualification series good enough to take the team to the championships themselves once qualification is achieved?
Some school of taught think otherwise.
“The foreign-based players are also Ghanaians and are exposed to better training facilities which makes them better as compared to the local players,” this school of taught believe.
They however miss one major point; if it only takes these ‘superior’ foreign-based players to qualify the nation for a major tournament (aged competition) and their clubs are unwilling to ‘rightfully’ release them due to a FIFA law, how do we qualify in the first place if we keep using the ‘inferior’ locally-based players?
The answer is quite obvious; there will be no qualification let alone dream of inviting the foreign-based players to add that piece of ‘quality’ some people so much talk of.
Again they say: “Let them compete with the local players for the overall best to emerge to be taken to the tournament.”
A point which is easily checkmated by the counter-point; “How about they (foreign-based players) come and compete on the dusty and patchy surfaces during qualifiers.”
Oh! I forgot; the clubs won’t release them so it’s not their fault.
Then they’ll remain with their clubs simply because the ‘inferior’ locally-based players cannot qualify us since they lack that quality. Period!
Perhaps it’s about time we put our foot down on this purely moral and a dare I say principled issue.
If these foreign clubs realise they will not be handed the huge platform of a major tournament once their players did not take part in the struggle to get qualification, their stance and approach towards invitation for qualifiers, i believe, will totally change.
On the flip side, per our current actions towards this policy, I again believe it sends all the wrong signals to the local players as we tell them: “you are very good, but only during qualifiers. If you manage to get qualification, there is always a better player out there to take your place.”
Fortunately for us however, there are some foreign clubs that are very much prepared to release their players for qualifiers, so it’s a matter of preference.
We should be able to reward our players who fight so hard to get the nation to such championships because mind you, they also want to get marketed and their profiles also boosted.