This may sound strange but that is surely what is likely to happen in the next five Afcons and Ghana could extend their trophy-less run at the tournament to 45 years. I am not sounding a prophet of doom but the strange happenings in the country, especially during the just ended Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon creates the impression that the wait will not end now, at least not in the next ten years.
Many a time, pundits of the game claim football has the power to unify people, groups and a nation at large but this assertion has been defeated by the current wind blowing in Ghana and that gives me the impression that it will take a much longer time to get to the Promised Land.
The reason is simple; Party Politics. Party politics have always divided Ghanaians but football has proved to be the unifying element. Unfortunately, politicians have succeeded in infesting that element of unity with their political chants breaking the country’s only component of togetherness.
As a young writer, I have witnessed the conduct of Ghanaians whenever the Black Stars are playing a game but what I saw this year was absolutely amazing. When Ghana lost to Cameroon, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw some Ghanaians jubilating over the defeat. I was completely bewildered, flummoxed and flabbergasted. For a moment, I thought I was dreaming. Is this Ghana? I asked.
I went closer to the jubilant fans and in amazement, I asked one of them why they were jubilating while Ghana have been defeated. His answer was simple, ‘Since we didn’t win the AFCON, no party will also win it.’ I was shocked but as if I was not satisfied with his answer, I asked again why he was saying that. He explained: ‘Some of the players said they were going to win the trophy for Nana Addo so who should support them to bring that trophy to him? He retorted. I then realised the jubilant fans could be members of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party.
Social media was erupting at the same time with similar chants. Some Ghanaians don’t want the Black Stars to win AFCON because a certain political party will include it in their next manifesto as an achievement.
I know many communicators of the main opposition party, NDC, who were very excited with the loss of the Black Stars and strangely, they couldn’t hold it but to make it public. With this attitude, expect Ghana to keep waiting for the AFCON trophy for a much longer time.
All is not well in Cameroon likewise Egypt but both countries ended up in the finals of the tournament because their respective countries were behind them.
Politicians have succeeded in making anything political in the country and majority of Ghanaians now view everything with party political lenses. And since this will not end now, Black Stars will not win now.
Research has shown that for every country to be able to win a major tournament like the AFCON or the World Cup, there are three thematic areas they must tackle;
- The unity and common sense of purpose of the team
- The technical and tactical sharpness of the coach and players
- The unity, togetherness and sense of solidarity from the country
Sadly, the last part was missing when the Black Stars were at the AFCON. The country was divided, while some were supporting the team, others were rooting strongly against the team. Is it not amazing for a Ghanaian to argue that since his party failed to win the AFCON, the ruling party will also not win it? When this ending as Ghana’s quest for the trophy intensifies? Will the NPP also do same to the NDC when they (NPP) are also in opposition? Am told they did same when Ghana got to the finals in 2015 and eventually lost to Ivory Coast.
And so long as we will continue to be divided as a country to the extent of wishing the country fails in a competition because of politics, we shall sallow in the quest for the trophy but can never win it. If you fail to go to heaven, don’t blame Jesus.
People will point accusing fingers at others for Ghana’s unsuccessful attempt to win the AFCON despite our numerous attempts but will fail to nail it right on the head. Blame the GFA not for our AFCON dilemma. Blame POLITICS!
By: Sheikh Tophic Sienu @desheikh1 on twitter