All good things must come to an end, and one of the nationâ€™s most dedicated patriots has decided to call it quits from international duty. The Black Starsâ€™ Captain, Stephen Appiah, has announced his retirement from international football and the Black Stars.
Football history will forever smile at the contribution and exploits of such a football gem to the upliftment of Ghana soccer.
He has indeed, achieved heroic status by his singular achievement of leading the Black Stars to two successive World Cup tournaments.
Stephen Appiah burst onto the football scene plying his career at Hearts of Oak in 1995, and has since made gradual progression in the Ghana national teams, from the 1995 FIFA U-17 World Championship, the 1997 and 1999 World Youth Championships, the 2004 Olympic tournament, the African Nationâ€™s Cup, and the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.
Indeed, Stephen has really paid his dues to the nation, and all we can say to him is â€˜Ayekooâ€™. Stephenâ€™s selfless leadership quality, and the sort of camaraderie that characterised the Black Stars squad of his era, led to Ghanaâ€™s first qualification to the FIFA World Cup in 2006.
He, once again, led the team to our second successive qualification to the World Cup.
According to connoisseurs of the game, player for player, the squad which qualified Ghana to her two World Cup tournaments comes nowhere near the quality and pedigree of the Abedi Pele era. But, the difference in the two periods was the sort of unity that existed in the Stephen Appiah squad. And Stephen was obviously, the catalyst towards engendering peace and harmony in the team.
But for the fact that FIFA has abolished the retirement of jersey numbers to honour players, The Chronicle would have advised that the Ghana Football Association withdraws Stephenâ€™s favourite number ten jersey from the Black Stars team.
We still believe that Stephen has attained legendary status, and the nation must honour him accordingly.
With the retirement of Stephen Appiah, the possible exit of Michael Essien, and the marginal roles given to their contemporaries like Sulley Muntari and Laryea Kingson by Coach Milo in the Black Stars, it looks like the golden era of this current team is gradually fading away, and giving the chance to a new meaning of youth development by Milovan Rejevac.
The conveyor belt of youth development will be sustained by the new faces of Andre Ayew, Kevin Boateng, Kwadwo Asamoah and Jonathan Mensah, among many others. The exiting of Stephen Appiah can be likened to an actor, who decides to take a bow when the applause is highest.
Indeed, Stephen is leaving the Black Stars at a time Ghanaians still hold him in high esteem.
The Chronicle could not agree more with Stephen, when he said, â€œI have paid my dues to the national cause. There is a time in oneâ€™s life that reality dawns, and I believe I have to do the decent thing, by giving way for the young ones.â€
Editorial by the Ghanaian Chronicle