The Black Stars were brought to the brink of tears by the reaction of Ghanaians to their recent win that qualified them the 7th consecutive time for the African Cup of Nations.
Generally, one of the most painful and crippling moments for celebrities is that moment when it dawns on them that they have lost their fan support and backup. That of Ghana’s National football team is a tearful one as they were greeted by a heartbreaking level of disillusionment from fans after beating Mauritius 2-0 to qualify for the 2017 AFCON on Sunday in the city of Belle Vue Maurel.
Although their win was a staggering one which every country would have heralded with loud and noisome celebrations, the Black Stars’ achievement was belittled by their own fatherland.
We would vividly recall that 2004 was the last time Ghana did not make it to AFCON; that was the year Tunisia hosted it. And since the coming of the Kwesi Nyantakyi administration, it’s been difficult to recall any time Ghana had to struggle to get the showpiece.
These straight victories would have been something that would make their praises to be on the lips of every Ghanaian, even those who are passive to football. But it is never so now as “things have fallen apart” when it comes to Black Stars-fans relationship – Ghanaians are so nonchalant now, and the players could feel it!
Speaking on behalf of the Black Stars, Andre Ayew who captained the team in place of the injured Asamoah Gyan expressed their disappointment over the cold relationship between them and fans in recent times.
This past one and a half year, it’s been difficult between the Black Stars and fans, to be honest. For me as a leader and with other leaders and my colleagues, it’s very painful. When we played against Mozambique, the stadium wasn’t full but when Hearts of Oak played Kotoko, I was in France but I saw the stadium was full – it’s painful. I have to be honest, Ghanaians want us to win and we have been wining but we still don’t feel the support. There are different issues that are true or false but I’m just pleading that we all put things behind us,” Andre Ayew said before the Stars departed on Friday for Mauritius.
The height of fans’ grievances became glaring since the past three major tournaments – two African Cups in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea and South Africa as well as the Brazil World Cup.
Now the big question is; what actually went wrong?
Innumerable scandals ranging from millions of dollars worth of taxpayers’ money being used to airlift fans, incessant rumours of player squabbles, reports of very obscene extra-marital affairs and the prodigious transfer of over $3 million dollars worth of bonus to Brazil remain the prime murderers of fans’ interest in the Black Stars.
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The team made a mighty effort to win fans back last year at the Nations Cup, with an unexpected push to the final, but were fatally pulled down by a defeat to the Ivory Coast. ‘Salt was added to the wound’ when it was announced that (after occupying second place), each team member was to get a Jeep Cherokee and other hefty cash bonuses.
All the same, the next AFCON will take a big PR push from the team to get fans as interested as they should be again.
And after Ghana finished at the top of Group H with 13 points on Sunday, the team only waited and hoped- for they can still vivdly recall when after such a win, the country’s major cities would have been filled with happy, horn-blaring, pub-jumping celebrating fans. This time, streets in Accra seemed not-at-all moved by the news. Below are some of the reactions from Ghanaians as gathered from Joy Sports:
“Why should I care when all they know is to pay us back with bad news all the time? It’s nice they’ve qualified but I’ve stopped bothering,” Atiso Demugah said, from Kokomlemle.
“Oh God why this opportunity again to waste tax payers money on these people again? Ghanaians, they are doing their job to feed their family ooo so concentrate on yours too to feed your families……. let us wise up to put a stop to this!!! Ghana money star!!!” Clement Boateng wrote on the Joy FM Facebook page.
“So many years down the lane, no nation’s cup glory, yet government uses tax payers money to pay $8.000 as winning bonuses to each Black stars player, People sleep in dumsor!! No potable water for some people to drink. Accra sports stadium is in a deplorable state and no one cares. Are we insane as a nation?” Samuel Artiso also wrote.
“Qualifications is a given for a team of this calibre…we need them to go out and win the trophy”, wrote Mario Nartey.
Reports from Kumasi and Sekondi holds the same feedback, and it appears to be same with general social media reaction.
What do you have to say about this latest development? What’s your level of interest in the Black Stars at the moment? Dead or Alive? Please, let’s have your views at the comment session below.