Derek Boateng, a former midfielder for the Black Stars, has criticized the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and Ghanaians in general for their unfair treatment of Felix Afena-Gyan.
The Cremonese attacker has faced criticism from some Ghanaian football fans after declining an invitation to play for the Black Meteors in the 2023 U-23 AFCON qualifiers against Algeria.
Boateng has come to the defense of the Ghanaian youngster, stating that he was not treated fairly. Although Afena-Gyan played a significant role in the Black Stars’ qualification for the World Cup 2022, he was excluded from the final 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar.
According to Boateng, Ghanaians have not been fair to Afena-Gyan, and he supports the player’s decision to decline the invitation. Boateng believes that football is not just about on-field performance, but also about having a sound mindset. He cited Afena-Gyan’s performance in the team’s two matches against Nigeria, where he was the best player and fought against four Nigerian defenders, as evidence of his talent.
Boateng expressed his disappointment that Afena-Gyan was not invited to the World Cup and is now being asked to play for the U-23 team.
“I really think Ghanaians haven’t been fair to that boy so right now that he has turned down an invitation, I support it. Football now is not about going to the field and performing a lot of things adds up that people don’t care about and only blame players that they don’t perform,” Derek Boateng stated.
“Football is about the brain so if you don’t have a sound mindset you can never perform. In our two matches against Nigeria, he was our best player. He was the player that was fighting four Nigerian defenders because we were playing one top. He did everything possible, we qualified for the World Cup and they didn’t invite him and now they want him for under 23 and his management said he is not ready,” he stated.
Afena-Gyan’s management has stated that he is not ready to play for the team, and Boateng supports this decision.