NANA KWASI GYAN-APENTENG AFCOM 2024 DIARY
Today is the day. We wish it were not like this, but it is what it is.
Once again, the Ghana National Men’s Football Team, the Black Stars, are tottering at the edge of the precipice. They are facing the most bottomless ravine without a safety net. They will either fall to a certain metaphorical death in this tournament or survive by steadying their frame sufficiently to escape the danger zone.
In short, as the Black Stars football team prepares to take the field in their most crucial tournament match, the weight of expectations and the nation’s hopes rest on their shoulders; the odds are tough. Their opponents, the Mabas of Mozambique, are no spring chickens in this tournament; their coach is talking tough. However, let us not forget the rich pedigree and legacy the Black Stars have built. From their outstanding performances on the international stage to their unwavering determination, the Black Stars have repeatedly proved that they can be a force of nature.
At this point, coaches (all 30 million of us) have coached, mathematicians (30 million) have outdone Professor Allottey in the football calculations department, pundits have “pundited,” prayer warriors have taken the war into higher realms, prophets have prophesied, and Imams have given their immutable blessings. Soon, it will be show-time, or perhaps, showdown, and as the old saying goes, the actual game takes place on the turf – agoro ne fem. As fans and supporters, we can draw inspiration from their achievements and believe in their ability to rise to the occasion once more.
The display by the Black Stars against Egypt has convinced us that this current crop represents a team that has consistently represented Africa with distinction, showcasing talent and skill on the global stage. With four Africa Cup of Nations titles, the Black Stars have established themselves as one of the continent’s most successful teams. Their exploits in international competitions have earned them respect and admiration from football enthusiasts worldwide.
Today, as has been said with characteristic Ghanaian humour many times, people will eat a full meal before they embark on the dangerous activity of following a Black Stars match live. Commonsense dictates that this is important for good health and self-preservation. It has become part of the national psyche to prepare our minds and hearts for the worst while hoping for the best.
If I were in the Black Stars dressing room, I would remind them of the team’s impressive performances in the FIFA World Cup and what their forebears did to create a name for themselves. I encourage them to bring cheer to Ghana. The country is going through tough times, but the government and sponsors like MTN have invested in the Black Stars in the hope that they can bring a ray of light into our lives.
The question is, can they do it? The answer depends on which Black Stars team takes to the field today. Is it the Black Stars that succumbed to Cape Verde or the one that outmatched Egypt? We all hope that today’s team will be the Black Stars exhibiting the age-old traits of unwavering determination and resilience.
In the past, the Black Stars have always bounced back stronger and overcome adversity. This spirit was evident in their qualification campaigns, where they defied the odds to secure their place in major tournaments. The Black Stars’ never-say-die attitude has inspired fans and instilled hope despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
The Black Stars boast a talented roster of players, each contributing unique skills and abilities to the team’s success. From seasoned veterans to emerging talents, they possess a blend of experience and youthful exuberance. With a strong backbone of leadership and a wealth of talent in various positions, the Black Stars have the tools to compete at the highest level.
The Mozambique coach has indicated that the Black Stars’ weakness is that they play brilliantly as individuals but not as a team. He has a point. Today is not a day to make a distinction between individuals and teams. There is only one Black Stars Team.
THE NATION EXPECTS. IT IS DO OR DIE
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