When a player acts like a mad man throwing a tantrum, he should be told that his actions go beyond the deserved red card and his team’s disadvantage, it could cost a whole continent. When a supposed striker refuses to put the ball into a gaping net, he should realise that he does not just decrease in value, his countries chances reduce and the continents slots at the world may just suffer.
Like Trojans they fought like wounded Lions, battling Uruguay, two times world champions, to a penalty shoot-out. There were many what-ifs but we can’t but remember this team as Africa’s best team of what has since been termed Africa’s World Cup, South Africa 2010. Many will see the Black Stars’ exit as an end and you would not blame them as that is what is readily seen. The unseen is the fact that that exit marked a new beginning, for Ghanaian football, for this extraordinary collection of players and indeed another sort of beginning for African football.
When a team especially an unfancied one plays at the quarter finals of a FIFA World Cup, and loses out only to the lottery of penalties, many things result. The seen is the fact that they are out of the competition, the unseen is much bigger and more relevant both to the players, the country’s footballers and a whole of other things.
Each member of the Ghanaian team has increased in value in proportions that can only be quantified in estimates. Of the maximum 7 matches a team can get to play at the mundial, they featured at five. Playing five world cup matches is same as having multiple exposures in the eyes of the world. When a team decides to sign one of the Ghanaian players, the fans won’t ask ‘Who?’ because they all saw the exploits performed at the World Cup. That no one gets to ask ‘Who?’ affects the value of the player in terms of sign-on fees and salaries. They are World Cup quarter finalists, emphasis on finalists. This means they were on the fringes of the finals. This group of players have joined the A-list of world class footballers and in no time the news media will be giving reports of the performances of their bank accounts and indeed their performances for major European clubs. That is a fact we do not readily see. Asamoah Gyan may have lost the most important penalty in African football history but no one will question the fact that he indeed scored 3 goals and that counts in player valuation. Three goals at the world cup could be the difference between a £20,000.00 weekly salary and a £70,000.00 one. You don’t want to value that difference over a four year contract.
The players are heroes all over Africa. I can’t wait to see them do an African tour but I guess that may not happen but should it, you bet they’d pull crowds across the continent. Back in Ghana, they are cult-heroes. Forget the expected cash rewards, product endorsements and all, they have earned a well deserved entrance into Ghana’s Hall of Football Legends. Nothing, no one, can deny them that! They achieved levels Ghanaian football had never reached, heights that looked daunting as recent as 2001 when Liberia whipped Ghana 3-1 at a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Accra. Those days are indeed long gone and forgotten.
Ghanaian football has just earned itself the right to be regarded as the best advert for African football. This means that an average football scout who desires African football talents will just fly straight to Ghana. The demand for Ghanaian players will blow old scales. Besides the world cup players, every Ghanaian footballer has increased in value because demand increases value. It is pure economics, the more the demand for a product the higher its price.
As for their status as a football nation, wait till the next FIFA rankings are released and watch them jump over countries now above them. The truth about Ghana’s exploits at the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup is that the gains of their pains cannot be readily valued, but be rest assured Ghanaian football will never be the same. Their reputation has been stretched never to return to its previous state. It is indeed a new beginning. THE LESSONS FOR OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES: When an African team represents Africa at the World Cup, that team plays not for itself alone but for the continent. It is not just an advertisement drive, it is the simple truth. Had Africa not had a team beyond the group stages of the 2010 World Cup, there would have been a strong case for the reduction of African teams participating at the world cup. That simply means that Ghana may have saved Africa’s current number of participating teams from being reduced. There are still voices calling for a reduction of the African contingent but Ghana makes the argument easy for Africa.
Performances at the world cup have far reaching effects. Footballers must look beyond what they do on the pitch, to the possible effects of their actions. Considering the fact that we were hosting the world cup, we had a real chance to make a showing but we blew it generally. Before you hang Gyan or imagine what you could do to Suarez, remember that these players fought and gave their all. If there was a red card that ought to be celebrated by the recipient team, Suarez’s was it. If only some over bloated and over hyped Nigerian players could learn a thing or two from Ghana and Uruguay.
Next stop is Brazil 2014 when Brazil will be hosting and are already condemned to win, having bowed out to the Netherlands at this year’s quarter finals stage. They also exited the previous world cup at this stage losing to another European team France by 1 goal to nothing. We can do the unthinkable, go to Brazil and win the 2014 FIFA World Cup and by that proving those who believe F.I.F.A means Football Isn’t For Africans wrong. Who says this Ghana team cannot do it? They sure can. They are young and they sure look like they have more in their cylinder. Take note World, Africa will be Back!
Thank you Ghana.
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