Black Stars, WHY? WHY?

If you are a serious footballer, and you don’t find any greater motivation to play in a World Cup either than the financial reward of a winning or qualifying bonus, then to me you are a…I am tempted to say a fool but I will settle for, an unambitious professional who does not deserve to kick the round leather.

I have read elsewhere that the sponsors of the national team, the Black Stars and some government people who decided to pay each member of the team and their handlers a sickening $18,000 if they win against the Pharoahs of Egypt in Kumasi next Tuesday. The reason I hear they give, is to MOTIVATE the players to win.

Seriously!

You are a footballer wanting to win laurels and to make a good name and you think being offered a chance to play at the greatest sports event in the World is not enough for a motivation? Do we know how many players in the world have “not playing/winning a World Cup” as low points in their careers? There has to be some logic in this that my poor mind cannot fathom. I am sometimes left to wonder whether I am just some ‘too known’ who feels he knows it all or that we live in a country where our leaders have twisted minds and can’t seem to decide what is good for us and what is not.

We love football and we love our national team and we adore our footballers. But what sense does it make and what justification do we have for paying them an $18, 000 winning bonus? I don’t get it. During the Euros in 2012, according to the Daily Mail, “the bonus payments will be heavily weighted towards the team reaching the knockout stages. In addition to the bonus money, England’s players will each receive appearance fees of £1,500 for a win, £1,000 for a draw and £750 for a defeat during the tournament. The players are set to pay these fees and personal appearance fees, worth an estimated £10,000-£15,000 each, to the team’s charity fund”.

That was a rich, first world country. And this was about a tournament; not qualification. Plus, the players have a charity. Our players play alongside these same players week in, week out. Some of our players even earn more than some of their English counterparts.

Our richer neighbours, Nigeria, pay $5,000 as winning bonus! 5000! It used to be $10,000 and was slashed. We say we have no money; we say things are hard in Ghana; we say we don’t have money to pay our nurses and other sectors of public service but we can rake out $18,000 x 23 (minus handlers). Are we for real? I bet there are a dozen of sports in Ghana whose annual budget falls way below the winning bonus of Black Stars for ONE match!

Let’s bear in mind that foreign based players are among the best paid professionals anywhere in the world…and the Black Stars is full of them. Why should we give to guys who earn at least $5000 a week so much money as bonus? Don’t forget some even earn $45, 000 plus a week, with a few others close to the 100K mark. Take a drive through Accra’s poshest communities and that is where you will see the mansions that these players duel in. Bottom line: they are bloody rich already!

I have been told that we have people in the FA who stand to benefit from the largesse so will certainly find nothing wrong with dolling out these monies to these guys. A big shame! No one cares about Ghana anymore. People care less what happens to all of us as long as they are sorted out.

Beautiful!

These guys don’t even give a hoot about charity or giving back to the community that made them who they are! We know all these players got their break when they were selected to play for our junior teams. All of them! Name them. Most also got a resuscitation of their careers when playing for us. And now it is as if we beg and pay them to wear the proud jerseys of our team? Yes let’s thank them for making us proud. But at this cost? We have now managed to build for ourselves a situation where people are worshipped and begged and paid to play for Ghana. Some even have the audacity to say “I WANT PLAY FOR GHANA AGAIN!” Some of these wealthy players will not even buy their own air tickets to report to camp. A mere ticket!

It used to be, and it should have continued to be, that, playing for the national team be seen as a duty to the state; as a patriotic duty. Players were proud to wear the national colours. They felt honoured because they knew there were hundreds of others who could have been in their boots. They sacrificed for their country because they felt patriotic enough to do so. What happened to us and these ideals? Why must greed permeate through our every being like this!

PS:
I will be in Kumasi on Tuesday to watch the Black Stars play. I remain a Ghanaian who loves Ghana!

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