Ace journalist Amim-Lamptey cautions media against negative reportage on Black Stars
Ghanaian Journalist cum politician Mohammed Amin Lamptey has employed his colleagues to be circumspect when discussing Black Stars matters.
Matters concerning any National Team of every country are dear to the hearts of the majority of its people so much so that every single person is seen as a coach at a particular time. In the case of Ghana and the Black Stars, the concern and interest normally display by Ghanaians is just second to none due to the level of passion they have attached to the game of soccer.
The game of football which is seen as the number one sports in this country at the moment and it is now regarded as the passion of the nation.
The said passion has also developed from the level of mere support to a more realistic and organized curiosity which has also generated countless of stakeholders who have identified themselves with the beautiful game of soccer.
Certainly in the case of Ghana today, admistrators, journalist, marketers, cooperate organizations and the entire citizens have an insatiable desire to make an impact. In actual sense they are all supposed to develop an interest for the game and how their contributions could help the forward march of the game.
Navigating through the development of some football “crazy” nation like Ghana and what I see is a “joke” due to certain things some people do that have the potential of destroying the game right from planning, organization, administration marketing, branding, image, spectating and publicity.
Undoubtedly the Black Stars is the “hen” that is seen to be laying the golden eggs when it comes to the real development and achievement of football in Ghana, and as a result, the passion of some stakeholders cannot be controlled due to their unflinching support for the game to help grow and develop it to an appreciable level.
However, some of these persons instead of helping to achieve a specific agenda would rather resort to destructive critism, sentimentalism and analysis that have no research background and also based not on facts.
Some Sports Journalist in Ghana today, I included, perceive themselves as King Makers of our football administration and as a result have every power to make or unmake the administration of a particular administrator by utilizing their platform (Radio, TV, Newspaper and Internet) to execute their agenda.
This phenomenon has been there with us for some time now and you cannot begrudge section of our population who think and believe that the sluggish progress and the stumpy achievement of the game of soccer right from our colts soccer, domestic leagues and national teams are partially cause by our recent generation of Sports Journalist who have lost the pedigree and professionalism their senior most colleagues have established since time in memorial. What is going on today within the pivot of sports journalism was not what I stead in class and not what I observed and learnt from the likes of KWABENA AGYEPONG,KWABENA YEBOAH,KAL TOFFOUR ,MOSES FOE AMOENING,KWEKU OFOSU ASARE,NII LANTEY VANDERPOUR,NII NORTEY DUA,PAPA PINSTIL, SAFO ABREBESE to mention but a few.
My generation which span as far back as 15 years go also saw the likes of FIFI BANSON,RANDY ABBEY,YAW AMPOFO ANKRAH,CHARLSE OSEI ASEBEY,KWAME BAAH NUAKON,THE LATE TONY AMOFA,KURT OKRAKU,IBRAHIM SANNI DARA,MICHAEL OTI AGYEI,OSEI OWUSU BEMPA,STEPHAN LECOSSON,NANA OPARE OTTO,PROSPER HARRISON ADDO,CRISTOPHER OPOKU,SOMETIMER OTOO ACHEAPONG, to mention but a few, indeed some I came and met them and others were colleagues we came onto the scene at the same time.
At that time what I observed even though the media was not vibrant and broad as it is today, was hard work and professionalism in Sports reporting and programming. Sentiment, favoritism and destructive critism even though some may have it, were not link to any discussions, analysis and other related issues.
I am not saying that there was not any situation of unprofessionalism on the part of Journalists especially new comers who were then learning on the job.Admitedly, I think I was one of those passionate young Journalists who sometimes go overboard due to inexperience but we were checked and corrected by our senior colleagues.
But today, it’s only few Sports Journalist who listen to advice and correct their mistakes. Most of them correct their correctors when they are offered professional advice which would eventually help to better their lots.
Apart from the worrying aspect of our Sports Journalism of today, an additional responsibility has been added to the whole industry with the emerging of Sports Analyst. These are individuals who might have had experiences in sports in general and football in particular. Therefore, when they appear on sports programmes they are refer to as Sports Analysts. The question is, who is a sports Analyst?
My simple and humble opinion is a person who has an analytical mind of analysis and has command over sports knowledge. Every analyst should be able to digest, evaluate and communicate effectively on any issue he analyzed without expressing sentiments and personal opinions because the result of his professional analysis of an issue should not be compromised regardless of his personal views. What do see today?
It is against the above submission that I would humbly wish to urge and encourage myself and colleagues Sports Journalists to bear in mind that we are stakeholders who are supposed to help in the development of the game of football for the benefit of all and not serve any individual parochial interest as against the interest of our nation Ghana. Be as it may, the role of a national team Coach, like the Black Stars, the national team players and their internal issue must be left in hands of the management and the Coach.
We Sports Journalist have no right what so ever to determine who should be invited to the Black Stars and who should be excluded from the team. That is the prerogative of the Coach and his backroom staff.
I was shocked when a sports contributor or Analyst made a categorical statement that a player should not be invited to the Black Stars because of a misunderstanding between the said player and his Coach regarding a substitution that the Coach effected on that Player. Amazing! I think regardless of what might have brought about the said friction between the Player and his Coach, a Sports Analyst’s core duty is to consider the history of such event, the fallouts, the man- management skill of the Coach, the communication method of the Coach to the player on the pitch and off the pitch.
In effect, what I am trying to portray all this while is to make it clear to all and sundry that Sports Journalists and Analysts have the right under the code of our profession to express opinions but have no any right to dictate to the Black Stars Coach on who he should invite for a game and who he should not invite for a particular game.
Man is recognized in tribulations, so I would like the Black Stars Coach James Akwesi Appiah to quickly resolve to recognize the challenges is confronted with at this material moment. It’s normal in our social setups to have misunderstandings and disagreements, be it in Marriages, Organizations, Offices, and Associations, but it takes cool heads and an absolute leader with a winning mentality to accommodate and resolve all internal issues regardless of it magnitude or the person involve because after all, your fundamental duty is the welfare of your players and how you motivate them to deliver for you as it were.
So therefore, no Sports Journalist or Analysts should set the agenda for the Black Stars Coach but can suggest to him things that are workable, achievable and not those that have the potential of creating disunity, hatred, animosity, and ethnicity between players and their Coaches.
We should be mindful that where we have reached with our world cup qualifier ,all that the Ghana Football Association, the Black Stars Coach and the players need from Sports Journalist and Analysts is to be circumspect and professional in their reportage, programmes and analysis.
The Black Stars is a BIG family made up of internal and external members. We the journalists and Analysts belong to the external family and our role is to help shape the vision, the winning mentality and enhance conflict resolution within the internal family setup which is the Black Stars.
No suggestion should be underrated by the Black Stars Coach but the onus is on him to accept it or not. Meanwhile he should also desist from comment on issues concerning him and his players in the public domain because some “mischievous” Journalists would pose a question on certain sensitive issues that can break the trust your players have for you.
Your Players are your working tools and sometimes you need to evaluate their sharpness and performance so as to confirm their readiness. I do not think it is logical instead of correcting any problem with your tools; you would rather transport that concern to the public domain.
When things like this happen you feed the general public with conflicting perceptions about your leadership, whether you are not fully in charge of your team, perhaps you are incompetent or you are skeptical of your position as it were, may be someone else is been prepared to take over from you.
As one the apostles of appointing a local Coach for the Black Stars, I want to encourage The Coach Akwesi Appiah to stamp his authority as the head Coach and utilize every knowledge he has for the game for the progress of the Black Stars without fear or favour and should not allow any control from Analysts and Sports Journalists on how he should run his affairs, nonetheless, a productive and workable opinion or suggestion should be accommodated.