EDITORIAL: Sack Essien, Muntari & Gyan Now!

Happy FM, an Accra-based radio station, on a sports programme, Tuesday, announced that three prominent players of the senior national soccer team, the Black Stars, failed to join their colleagues to Angola to play a FIFA sanctioned international friendly match, scheduled for Wednesday. The radio station named the players as Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan. According to the radio station, the three players failed to turn up, after the coach and his technical team had waited at the M-Plaza hotel in Accra for several hours for them. The whereabouts of the players could not be traced, as their mobile phones had been switched off, so the team decided to move to the Kotoka International Airport, where a chartered flight was waiting to airlift them to Angola. The technical team and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) had to make quick arrangements to get Champions League losing finalist Aziz Ansah and Sam Okyere to join the team for the trip at the last moment. However, just as the team was about to depart, the three absentees were said to have sent emissaries to the airport to collect their passports from the handlers of the team. If it turns out that the “culprits” did not seek permission from the coach and the technical team before absenting themselves for the trip to Angola, then they must immediately be sacked from the team, before they influence the other team mates with their bad behaviour. The three players have by any standards achieved fame and wealth, but they must bear in mind that their claim to what they are today was due to the Ghanaian tax payer’s money, which was used to sponsor the junior national teams through which they were able to exhibit their talents and secure lucrative contracts abroad. Instead of showing appreciation by availing themselves for national duties, they have rather decided to turn their back on the nation when it needed their services most. The Chronicle feels appalled by this behaviour from these players, especially Michael Essien, who is well revered by the youth of this country. The Black Stars put up a scrappy performance in their last World Cup qualifier played in Kumasi over the weekend, because Essien and some of his colleagues chose to launch a foundation in Accra, on the eve of the match, and therefore arrived in camp very late. The Chronicle is urging Coach Milo and the GFA to follow the footsteps of Coach Osam Duodu, who mustered courage to sack Samuel Osei Kuffour, then Ghana’s number one central defender from Black Stars camp during the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations held in Mali. If we fail to tell these players that they are dispensable, they would continue to hold the nation to ransom. This is not the time to handle them with kid gloves, because there are hundreds of players who are warming up on the touch line eager to don the national colours and win laurels for the country. After all, Muntari and Asamoah Gyan did not feature in the Ghana-Mali match in Bamako and the Ghana-Sudan match played at Khartoum, yet the Black Stars won those two away matches. If the Abedi Peles, Tony Yeboahs, George Alhassans, Mohammed Polos, Osei Kofis, Ibrahim Sundays, just to mention a few, had put up this unpatriotic behaviour, Ghanaians would not be according them the respect that they deserve as retired players of the national team. We reiterate our position that if these players are not able to give any tangible reasons to justify the embarrassment that they have caused the nation, they must be axed from the team now! As the motto of Asante Kotoko goes, “When you kill a thousand, another thousand would come.” Ghana is blessed with so many players, therefore, we should not allow Essien and his colleagues to take the entire nation for a ride.