Corruption is a major topic in politics and governance. So one would ask if it has anything to do with football.
The answer is “YES THE BANE OF FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT” as described by football pundits.
The interest in Ghana’s football has declined over the past few years.
The year 2017 was certainly not one of those years that thrilled most football lovers in the country.
The Direction of Ghana Football
The most popular sport in Ghana threw and continues to throw football fans in doubt.
This concerns the direction, growth and future of football in the nation.
Football fans had a lot to worry about so this article will focus on Men’s Football and some notable happenings in the year under review.
Football happens to be the passion of the nation.
It is believed that football is Ghana’s trump card in sports but 2017 was certainly not a good year for the game both domestically and internationally.
There are lots of questions to be answered on the direction of football.
Unfortunately the leadership of the Association seem to have no answer to the questions.
It is a conjecture that the President and the Vice of the Association are at loggerheads.
This has clearly affected the image of football and the already blurred roadmap of football, is now in total darkness.
How the Local League Fared
The local league went on break two times last season for the CHAN qualifying match against Burkina Faso and the WAFU tournament.
The CHAN was hosted in Cape Coast in the month of September.
The reasons were termed as “misplaced priorities” by football commentators and ardent followers.
Corruption in Ghana Football
Corruption in Ghana’s Football has been described by connoisseurs of the game as the bane of football development.
Of which there has been several allegations of bribery in the elite division of Ghana Football.
Amazingly, the major stakeholders have gone to sleep on the topic.
Referee Joseph Lamptey became a major talking point both in the local and international media.
This was because of his FIFA ban, after awarding a dubious penalty to South Africa against Senegal.
The Black Stars
Casting our minds back to January 2017, the Black Stars failed to lift the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) as Ghana was eliminated by Cameroon.
The eventual winners of the tournament held in Gabon.
This cup has eluded Ghana for the past 35 years since it was last won in 1982.
Ghana has come close to winning the ultimate on several occasions.
After losing three final appearances in 1992, 2010 and 2015 meeting Cote D’Ivoire (twice in 1992 and 2015) and Egypt in 2010.
The failure to lift the trophy means that Ghanaians will have to wait for two more years.
Whiles hoping that the senior national team, will make them proud when the tournament comes off in Cameroon in 2019.
In other developments, the Black Stars have failed to make a fourth straight appearance in the world cup.
This World Cup is set to come off in Russia in June 2018.
This comes as a huge blow to the Ghanaian fans, as the world cup would be watched without any passion.
This follows a host of draws and only a single win as well as a lost in the qualifiers in a group containing Ghana, Egypt, Congo and Uganda.
The black stars finished 3rd with 7points, 6points behind Egypt who made it to Russia and 2points behind Uganda who finished with second place.
Black Stars B failed to qualify for the CHAN which is a dent on Ghana’s football prospects.
Despite the fact that they made amends by winning the WAFU tournament staged in the country in September.
The Black Satellites
The Black Satellites also made no meaningful impact in 2017 as they failed to qualify for the African Youth Championship held in Zambia.
They were crushed out in the qualifiers by their counterparts from Senegal.
The Black Starlets
Also, the Black Starlets showed glimpses of hope for Ghana’s football as they performed well in the Under 17 African Cup of Nations in Gabon.
Sadly, they could not emulate the feat they chalked at the cup of nations in the Under 17 world cup in India.
They were also kicked out by their old foes, Mali in the quarter finals.
The Future of the National Teams
Moving on, the future of our national teams seem dejected and has no clear-cut direction and future.
The transition from the youth teams to the senior teams have always been poor apart from the promotion of the host of the 2009 Under-20 world cup winning team.
This formed an integral part of the black stars and played a major role in helping Ghana reach the quarters of the world cup in 2010 in South Africa.
2017 however was not totally dark as we saw the black stars B under the guidance of Maxwell Konadu.
They lifted the WAFU tournament after failing to qualify for the African Nations Championship.
The Return of Kwesi Appiah
Moreover, the return of Coach Kwasi Appiah brought football fans some hope in a quest to rebuild a formidable team for the present and the future.
Having brought in a relatively younger squad and starting the qualifying campaign of the AFCON 2019 on a good note.
They beat Ethiopia by 5 nil.
Many Ghanaians have revived their hope in the black stars, ending a 37 -year wait for the AFCON trophy.
A tournament in which they have reached the semis of the last six editions.
It is the hope of football fans that football in the country will get better in years to come.
Many also wish football in Ghana will return to the state it once was, where Ghanaians adored the game.
Credit : Frank Odoi Asare