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EDITORIAL:MUST THEY BE PUNISHED?   
 
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23-Nov-2009  
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The three Black Stars players who went AWOL ahead of Ghana's friendly against Angola last week were without question rebellious to the GFA employee Milovan Rajevac and to a very large extent disrespectful to the flag that catapulted them into stardom.

It was Sulleys fifth, Essien just opened his account whiles Asamoah Gyan talked of series of faxes from his club to the GFA. I knew damn sure Essien and Sulley were going to follow suit what Asamoah smartly did by calling for pardon. I spoke to Mr Fred Pappoe, the Chairman of the Black Stars management Committee and he intimated that Essien and Asamoah had written to the FA to apologise for their actions but he could not confirm whether Sulley had done same but was expectant the Inter Milan player would Interestingly the coach looks sold on those players and they realized instinctively the man was not on top of his disciplinarian role and it all happened.

Do you blame them? The players are used to the multilingual person assisting Milovan, I mean the interpreter Glencen Lenard and perhaps they gave him the information beforehand and were waiting for him to convey the message to the head coach in Serbia that their clubs needed them more than the nation but ‘demon mailer’ caught the interpreter on the way with ‘failure delivery’ the end result. Please don’t mind me, Lenard the interpreter had nothing to do with the recalcitrance exhibited by the three players.

Seriously I was glad Asamoah Gyan was quick to ask for forgiveness after learning the apprehension of the coach and people of Ghana but there was a reason attached to his apology and it was thought provoking. There were series of fax messages to the GFA by Stade Renné demanding the release of Asamoah but shockingly the general secretary’s release later seemed to suggest that the player’s unofficial departure caught them by surprise.

I’m yet to hear any if there exist at all reasons why Essien and Sulley also took to their heels when Ghana called on them for the friendly. The substantive issue is the repercussions the action taken by these players have on other players, the coach and Ghana as a whole. Condemning them is right in the sense that their action could not go unpunished in Europe where discipline reigns.

Sulley Muntari has played truancy with the National team for so many years and don’t forget he sometime ago held a press conference denouncing Ghana; and later apologized. Recently Sulley came back begging Ghanaians openly on GTV Sports Highlight, astute and renowned journalist Kwabena Yeboah was exceptional in handling the Muntari cause and the player was back again in national colours.

The number of times the Inter Milan midfielder has had to apologize is very disturbing just as it is disgusting. I don’t believe it’s in the blood but as the case is getting perfectly peculiar; perhaps what is bred in the bones cannot be easily eliminated. On Michael Essien, I thought the Chelsea midfielder was transformed when Ghanaians vilified him so much for not appearing at the 2006 Nations Cup in Egypt even though genuinely he was injured.

Admission of guilt they say does not exonerate one from the crime and that deservingly sanctions can be well cut out. But the other side of the coin does not favour the nation should the players be expelled from the team as a way of punishing them. These are players who have seen bigger stages; the three were regulars at the world cup in Germany and their experience will definitely count when Ghana land in South Africa 2010.

In terms of preference everyone will choose Essien ahead Asamoah and Sulley not because of the teams they play but he is obviously every coach’s favourite and losing him through this act of waywardness would not be wise. Ghana may be helping them by showing them the exit since most African players in Europe can connive with their coaches out there just to avoid the Nations Cup.

The case of these three could be a ploy and they know definitely they would not be left out for the World Cup. Just cast your mind back to Egypt 2006 again. Almost half the players who featured were thrown to the gutters for others who lackadaisically declined to honour the Nations Cup call to enjoy the Germany world cup experience. I know players like Baba Armando and Prince Tagoe who got chopped off before the world cup would always salute my point.

Again I don’t think it’s proper to play politics with this infamous action of our players. I’m saying this because in the heat of the debate over the issue I overheard Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Rasheed Pelpuo lambasting the three for their unfortunate act whilst Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe wanted the boys sacked, Hon. O.B Amoah former deputy Sports Minister jumped to the defence of the icons saying Ghanaians should relax on the way they are treating the players and that sacking them is not an option worth thinking about because we have major international events coming up and such players will be needed. The Angola match was but only friendly.

Pardon me to say that political war of words must not be allowed into this critical matter since football and politics do not mingle; though they are entitled to their individual opinions. From the look of things it will be very difficult for the GFA to suspend these players but what I think the coach and the GFA can do is to arraign the three ‘suspects’ in a special press conference to apologize and further give their reasons for misbehaving since they disrespected the whole nation. Remember they are also employees just like coach Milovan. They take winning bonuses fatter than what any banker can take in Ghana. They sometimes complain and sabotage the nation, putting selfish interest first when their bonuses delay.

I think the players have forgotten they rode on the back of Ghana to get to where they are now. It is unfortunate the taxpayer has no voice here but henceforth whoever is in charge of the Black Stars should let the charges know that they cannot put the law in their own hands and do whatever they want; you either honour the call and comply with the rules in camp or face the disciplinary rod for truancy.

The three players slapped Milovan in the face; quite pathetic! Has he lost his honour and respect? we knew this in the past that Black Stars players disdained local coaches but the era has metamorphosed and the whites are not to be feared anymore as manifested by the French leave of our dear three ‘rebels’. No one is bigger than Ghana. It was despicable, unimaginably wrong and unthinkable for them to debase Ghana the way they did. What do you think?
 
 
Source: Eugene Osafo-Nkansah
 
 

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