The Black Stars of Ghana will make a return to the FIFA World Cup this year under the stewardship of Otto Addo and his glittering team of technical men.
After scaling a hurdle many feared was insurmountable; going past familiar enemies Nigeria without having to win a game, Otto Addo won over the rights to be instated as the full time manager of the senior national football team, the Black Stars, and to lead Ghana and its return to the World Cup.
It is a little premature to sneer at Otto Addo’s competence after 6 games with a team still in rebuilding and even more premature to highly rate his managerial nous after the Nigeria double header success. Nigeria, a team Ghana has never found it headachy to play in tough footballing times.
In fairness maybe the Nigeria success should be dragged freely into Otto Addo’s achievements so far and reinforce every reason to have him at the helm now; in that it gave Ghana a World Cup berth and came on the back of the country’s worst ever Afcon showing along with a period when the nation is genuinely low on high profile players.
However, it’s a coup that should carefully be praised since it happened against a side whose footballing culture is all too familiar to Ghana, and one I will describe as friendly enemies; the fight against whom goes either way on any day.
Results after the Nigeria game have been quite short on impressive, a 3-0 drabbing to Madagascar, a side that would suffer the same or greater margin of defeat away to any one of the top ten African teams and a dour 1-1 draw away to the teething footballing nation of the Central African Republic on the neutral ground of Luanda, Angola, cannot sufficiently merit convictions.
The Kirin Cup humiliation at the hands of the host Japan, a team Tunisia comfortable subdued in the final and a lean over backwards win on penalties against Chile; a side that will have no business at this year’s World Cup, has only left many despairing of a future for this Otto Addo led side.
The Kirin Cup may have been ventured with a depleted team by Ghana, but a 4-1 beating to a pulp by Japan, an Asian country with no deep tradition in football and only famous for its technologies, is a scar that may require years to heal. This is not the time for this result. Certainly not at a time when the team’s and the country’s confidence in it is picking up.
‘The team is in the somber process of rebuilding, and should be patiently allowed to rebuild’. That’s the argument Otto Addo may make in his defense. Patience indeed is a virtuous quality and when exercised patiently can indeed pay rich dividends. Unfortunately international football is not that patient, it’s not like club football, a small display of costly managerial infirmities and your team is out, awaiting the next 2 or 4 years to have another crack at glory.
After 6 games Otto Addo and his men should be able to put together a winning team, know their most reliable starters and start working for their deputies.
To many who watched Ghana serve up that drab performance at the just ended Afcon, the world cup is seen as an image redemption tournament for a country that loves its football like its peace.
Source: Nana Kweku Bosomtwi