Gariba Raubil – What the rules say on captain’s armband, Asamoah Gyan in the news for two reasons

After Ghana beat Ethiopia 5-0 in Kumasi, in the post match presser I asked Asamoah Gyan to have a say to the constant talks from certain people who believe there is a struggle between him and Andre Ayew – the deputy Ghana captain when it comes to the main leadership of the Black Stars team after the all-time leading goalscorer of the country spotted a customized captain’s armband with an image of Gyan himself embossed on the band. 
Asamoah Gyan responded to my question – ” Yes it worries me a lot (the Captaincy issues). Everyone has his opinion. But we in the camp knows what is going on. I think sometimes people see us and then they guess. But I think the reality is that there are some people who don’t like you. This is reality. But there is no issue between I and Andre. I was in the national team before he came into it and I have been his idol since day One. His father likes me a lot. We want to win games and win cups for the country. There is no issue between us”
Kwesi Appiah however revealed that the team were already aware Gyan was going to spot a customized armband. Indeed , Kwesi Appiah sanctioned it as he does not see any wrong in his captain putting on a special armband.
“There is nothing going on wrong. There is so much unity in the team and discipline in the team is the highest I have since since I was here sometime ago.  What happened was that the captain’s band has been customized with Gyan pciture on it and so we were all aware that and in case he (Gyan) is being changed we cannot give the customized band to Dede (Andre Ayew) and so the idea was that in case Gyan is going to be changed we give the main band of the team to Dede. I don’t know why this captaincy becomes an issue. I always tell my players everyone is captain on the pitch.”  Kwesi Appiah revealed at the official post-game press conference at the Babayara sports stadium.



Asamoah Gyan captained Ghana vs Ethiopia and scored his 50th international goal 

My take 
First of all it is not in conformity with the FIFA equipment regulations  of FIFA, to be precise,  Article 20,  for a captain’s armband to display any sort of decorations or carry any sort of messages apart from the word “Captain” or an abbreviation of it i.e “C” and the referees have a duty to check all these before the game starts and one can ask legitimate questions if indeed the match officials did a thorough inspections before the game and if they if they did. 
Kwesi Appiah is the manager of the team. He finds no fault in the usage of the special armband by his trusted captain but I am personally –  fully  – against it and perhaps this shows the how powerful Gyan is in the team. The issue here is not that Kwesi Appiah is not in control of the team – he is – but the thing is that,  Kwesi Appiah sees nothing wrong with Gyan using the customized armband. 
I am against it because there are still the Gyan -Andre factionalism speculations,  that there is some kind of struggle on the captaincy of the team between the two – when even there is a main captain who is still playing and also the fact that it is the coach that picks his captain. Whether true or untrue this guesswork by people has always threatened to destroy the harmony in the team as Gyan himself admitted that it is always a worry to him and the team when his captaincy continues to be the subject of public speculations that his teammate Andre has an eye on the captaincy. 
For some people, its Andre Ayew’s time to captain the Black Stars. But the other group – where I belong – also believe once there is a main captain – Asamoah Gyan – who has not retired – there should not even be room such speculations especially when the coach has not shown any incapability of deciding who the captain should be. 
In the case of Kwesi Appiah – he has selected Gyan as the captain with Andre as his number 2 – and so be it.
I am congratulating Gyan for his record 50th goals for Ghana but I am not going with him and Kwesi Appiah on this issue. I would have agreed – in someway –  if the Black Stars captaincy was free from public speculations but it it not and so this game against Ethiopia was another chance for the team to use to demonstrate togetherness. Gyan thought of himself only by satisfying a personal zeal to put on a customized band and failed to appreciate the toll it could have on the team. I think he should have weighed the two interests – the interest of customized armband and that of the team.
Ghanaians have started offering back their strong support to the national team and nothing should be done by the players themselves to damage that massive support from the Ghanaian fans.
What the FIFA equipment regulations say  on armbands
20.1 A captain’s armband exclusively provided by FIFA must be used for all
Matches of Final Competitions. FIFA may provide two captain’s armbands in
contrasting Colours.
20.2 For any Matches of a Preliminary Competition and any Preliminary
Olympic Matches the captain’s armband shall be of one dominant Colour,
or exceptionally composed of the Colours of the National Flag clearly
distinguishable from the Colour used on the sleeves of the shirt of the Player.
The captain’s armband must be an Equipment item separate from the shirt.
20.3 Captain’s armbands shall remain free of, and shall not produce, in FIFA’s
discretion, the visual effect of a Manufacturer’s Identification, a sponsor, any
Decorative Element or further elements, except for the word “captain” or an
abbreviation or translation thereof.
But can we ask more questions ?
Has FIFA, the overall private regulator of football taken strict measures to ensure that soccer captains put on the right band without any violating the Article 20 of the FIFA Equipment rules?
I do not think so. That article is not strictly applied. Its simply a relaxed regulation  – in my view – meaning players have in many cases decided to customize the symbol of the football captain so far as they do not carry very serious political messages. 
For instance the Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez –  in January 2017 – Chievo vs Atalanta, Serie A  game- wore an armband that had printed images of kids as he he used the football match to celebrate the birthday of his daughters – by that he chose to display that birthday regards on his armband.

Alejandro Gomez captain of serie A club Atalanta spotted a special armband


The Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi showed support to Chapecoence – the Brazilian football club that suffered a serious air disaster last year November – by spotting a special armband that had even the logo of the Brazilian club printed on it.
Folllow Gariba Raubil on twitter @GRAUBUL 

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