The Part I of this feature looked at the headway Ghana football has made under Kwesi Nyantakyi at the Black Stars level. Part II of this feature will look at the achievement of Ghana football under the leadership of the FIFA Council member at the other national teams level specifically the Black Satellites and the Black Starlets. Female football, involving Maidens, Princesses and the Queens will feature in the Part II of this write-up.
The Black Satellites (U-20)
In 2005 and 2007, Ghana could not qualify for the U-20 Championship in Benin and subsequently for the World Cup, but Nyantakyi and his administration were able to put very good plans in place to ensure we won the U-20 African Youth Championship in Rwanda and subsequently went on to win the World Cup in Egypt in 2009, the first ever by an African country which is yet to be matched.
Let us not forget that Ransford Osei emerged the goal king with 7 goals in Rwanda while Dominic Adiyiah won the goal king at the world stage in Egypt with 8 goals. Is this not an enviable achievement? Were all these achievements chalked under a different administration either than the Nyantakyi administration? Please, let us be circumspect and balanced in our reportage.
We went ahead to qualify for the 2011 edition in South Africa but could not make it out of the group stage but we went to Algeria in 2013, placed 2nd with Ebenezer Assifuah emerging the 2nd top scorer and at the World stage in Turkey, we placed 3rd with the same Assifuah emerging the goal king with 6 goals. So my question is, must we only win the trophy at the world cup or the Nations Cup to demonstrate that we have achieved better? The answer is a big NO.
Many people equate the success of a national team to the trophies that the team wins but as a football researcher I look at it differently. The success of a team is not only about trophies but also the number of players brought up and their development into the senior national teams. At the U20 level, we had eight of the players moving into the Black Stars in 2010; three of those players are still with the team. Baba Rahman and Ebenezer Assifuah are members of the 2013 U20 side who are in the Black Stars. Alfred Duncan has been given some Black Stars games but is yet to cement his place in the team with Samuel Tetteh and until recently Yaw Yeboah being members of the 2015 U20 side.
We had Samuel Inkoom, Jonathan Mensah, Agyemang Badu, Opoku Agyemang, Andre Ayew, Rabiu Mohammed, Daniel Opare and Ransford Osei all graduating into the Black Stars from the 2009 U20 squad.
So in my opinion, the development of players at this level under the Nyantakyi administration has not been bad.
Black Starlets (U-17)
At this level, Ghana qualified for the Championship in 2005 in Gambia, placed 2nd with Opoku Agyemang emerging the goal king with 4 goals, but got eliminated at the group stage of the World Cup in Peru 2005. In 2007, we placed 3rd in Togo with Ransford Osei emerging the 2nd top soccer behind Nigeria’s Chrisantos McCauley, and at the World stage we were third again with the same Ransford Osei emerging the 2nd top scorer with 6 goals. The theory of progression must also be appreciated at this point.
Ransford Osei, Abeiku Quansah, Robert Dabuo, Joseph Addo, Dominic Adiyiah and Philip Boampong all graduated from the 2007 U17 side to the 2009 U20 side. Is this bad for development? I don’t think so. We need to look at the progression of players into the senior teams rather than dwelling on trophies alone.
We did not qualify for the 2009 and 2011 editions and got eliminated at the group stage in Morocco in 2013. In 2015, we were disqualified after securing qualification with MRI issues on Isaac Twum which gave Cameroon the ticket. Ghana has qualified again for the 2017 edition to be hosted in Gabon and players like Eric Eyiah and Faisal Osman must be watched for the next generation.
However, I think I must draw the attention of the FA to do things right to enable us get to the heights we want to be. Yes, what went wrong to deny us of qualification in 2009 and 2011 and our drop out in 2013? These are some of the questions we must ask and not to call for the head of the FA Boss and dissolution of the FA. Are we ready to start at square one? If not, let us leave the Nyantakyi administration alone and support them with suggestions that will move Ghana football forward and stop the pull him down attitude. Please let’s be objective for once.
By: Sheikh Tophic Sienu @desheikh1 on twitter