Steadily, the dust of frustration over the disenchantment at the African Cup of Nations is about being settled after the Black Stars of Ghana failed to win the coveted trophy.
Of course, many hearts have been shattered – as it has been the case in the past 35 years. But the question is: for how long can we cry over spilt milk? The most important thing to do now is once again dash swiftly to the drawing board and carve out the way forward.
By now, most of us know what may have culminated in our failure; the disappointment of not lifting that enviable Holy Grail. We know that our preparation ahead of the Gabon 2017 tournament was not adequate, even though the Ghana Football Association (GFA) will depart from this assertion.
Pitching camp in Dubai for two weeks and playing just a game against a third-tier club side cannot be said to be enough ahead of a major tournament like a Nations Cup we have not won for over three decades.
Selection of players, too, into the national team raised a lot of eyebrow, in view of the fact that some of them, like Jonathan Mensah, were not fully fit to be in Gabon. This, our technical men know all-too well.
But as said earlier, we need to look forward and start planning immediately. We have cried enough. We have poured enough vituperation on the football authorities; and rightly so. We have cursed and spit fire and brimstone all in a bid to force the FA to embark on a revolution of our game. Yes, we are grimly disturbed by the many let-downs of the Black Stars.
The most important thing to do now is quickly get a more credible replacement for Avram Grant, the coach who supervised the Stars’ failure in Gabon where the team finished fourth – losing the third-place spot to Burkina Faso.
Grant, engaged in November 2014, threw in the towel on Monday with barely three weeks left on his two-year-old contract.
“After an extremely amicable meeting with the president of Ghana FA, and following more than two successful years in charge of the national team, I’ve informed Mr. Nyantakyi that time is right for me to move on to a new challenge and I thank him for the opportunity,” Grant is reported to have said in a statement.
The Israeli took Ghana to the finale of the 2015 Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea in a year he was only asked by the FA “to go and do well” before finishing fourth in the just-ended Gabon tournament won by Cameroon. In all, he played 29 games – winning 14, drawing eight and losing seven. A run-of-the-mill performance, doubtless.
Perhaps, others may not grade Grant’s two-year stint as terrible, but the former Chelsea of England trainer was certainly not on top of his job, failing dreadfully to inspire the local game by not scouting local talents into the Black Stars.
For a coach who was constantly rambling between London and Ghana as though he was a business tycoon, having time for the local game was as difficult as trying to break iron with bare hands.
Interestingly, Grant claims he is leaving behind a formidable Black Stars team.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’m leaving an extremely professional, strong squad of players of a good age, who I’m sure will go on to achieve great success in the future,” he said in his farewell statement.
Truth is, nobody is happy with the Stars. That is why many have called for the team to be disbanded and rebuilt. It is a strictly significant step that has to be taken for the public to rekindle their dying interest in the team.
Indeed, Ghanaians are calling for a Black Stars team that is patriotic, selfless, full-of-fight, hungry-to-excel, dedicated, committed, resolute and ready to die for the national cause. This virtue is all-too crucial and it also applies to Grant’s successor.
Again, enough of the tears! Let us get down to brass tacks and put into motion the rebuilding process as the Stars have some nerve-jangling Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers to deal with in mid-year. Presto!
By John Vigah