Former Black Stars defender, John Paintsil believes Ghana’s senior national team would have competed in the finals and won the 2018 world cup if the country had qualified to take part in the tournament in Russia.
Ghana failed to book a fourth consecutive place at the World Cup qualifiers in 2017 after missing out on the sole ticket to group leaders Egypt, placing third in Group E with 7 points.
While some pundits indicated that the quality of players resulted in the loss, many attributed the failure of Ghana to book a place in the tournament to high level of corruption that had bedeviled the defunct Ghana Football Association (GFA).
Speaking to Nana Prempeh (British Man), host of Celebrity Sports Talk on Power 97.9FM, the ex Ghana international said Black Stars could have lifted the trophy if football matters were handled well in the country prior to the tournament.
“…If we had gone, we would’ve brought the cup home, that’s how I see it,” the former Fulham star reiterated.
Explaining further, Paintsil observed that “ the more you play the football, the more you become experienced. It’s not about old players taking part. Ghana has been there (world cup tournament) in 2006, 2010 and 2014. In 2006 we were eliminated at the one sixteenth stage, In 2010, we got to the quarter finals stage, In 2014 we could have got the semi finals stage.”
This, he said, informed his analysis adding that there are “so many things that should be rectified” in the country’s football circles.
John Paintsil’s assertions come after the country’s football activities were halted awaiting restructuring following a documentary by ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas dubbed ‘Number 12’ that exposed malpractices involving some GFA officials and referees.
The documentary, which caught the FA president, Kwesi Nyantakyi on tape engaging in corrupt activities, led to his resignation as the boss of Ghana Football Association.
While the GFA activities have been suspended awaiting new structures,the world’s football governing body, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), and the Confederation of African Football (CAF)have appointed GFA’s technical director Francis Oti Akenteng and Dr. Kofi Amoah as liaison officers to mediate between them and CAF to help reform the game in the country
A four-man government delegation subsequently met with FIFA in Switzerland to seek guidelines for the way forward.
Although, the aim of the liaison officer s is to help secure the future of Ghana football, John Paintsil believes the game is in a precarious state and can harm budding talents.
He said once the official activities of the FA have been put on hold, it is not only football people in Ghana who will suffer but those applying their trade on the international front.
“Now the transfer window is opened and will be closing in the next month so if a player outside the country has played his justify and wants his ITC, he won’t get it. Those playing football outside the country have been helping the country a lot in terms of revenue. For instance, my brother, Asamoah Gyan is doing a lot in Ghana. His earnings help the country a lot, so if he were out of contract and due for another one and needed an ITC from the FA, how would he get it?” he quizzed.
“The game is spoiling more…We can’t play rugby and our people are not that tall to be excelling in basketball so Let’s be careful,” he said as he called on the government to do what it could to get the country’s football activities in full swing.