Cyril Ekeha: The performance of the Black Stars at the 2023 AFCON

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The last time Ghana won the African Cup of Nations was in 1982. Ghana then was not prepared for the tournament because we had declared our intentions not to take part in the tournament earlier. The coup d’etat in the year before altered that decision so we found ourselves in Libya and ended up winning the trophy.

Since then, a lot has changed in the football world. Football globally has become a mega money-making machine. Professional footballers from the remotest parts of the world are gradually emerging on the world platforms, waving millions of dollars in the faces of their peers wherever they are located.

I was watching the Black Stars last match against Mozambique with a friend and I kept on telling him that we were not going to leave the field with a win. He could not understand me but I know that God rewards effort and we were not putting in any effort that merited a win.

Ghana has lost a number of her football talents to many countries the world over, especially to Europe. Most of them depart at a very young age.

If you are the chief of a tribe or a village, you don’t gather your kinsmen one early morning and tell them to go back home and return with their guns to embark on a war with your neighbours. No one goes into a battle without preparation. And no one goes into a battle without a clear purpose and commitment.

Unfortunately, that is what we have become as a nation. If you watch all three matches played by the Black Stars, it is more of showing up than a common purpose and commitment on the part of the players and the technical team alike.

The players seem to be in a hurry to return to their various bases while the technical team seems to be out of sync with the ultimate goal. It is obvious that Ghana went into this tournament as an “also run.” (Me too I come some).

This attitude transcends our day-to-day activities lately. We are no more a people who value merit. We are gradually becoming people who feel entitled to the goodies of life without being ready to earn them. We interpret hard work as suffering and see every challenge as a deliberate effort by someone or some spirit working against us.

We fail to appreciate our God-given abilities and be ready to explore and exploit our natural talents to the benefit of the world at large.

Until we decide to look within ourselves and have a unity of purpose, we are not going anywhere. We can have all the natural resources in this world but there is no natural resource that comes ahead of our thoughts; being ready to defend our values with dignity is core. Our mindset is paramount in everything that we do. Mind you the ass bears gold but cannot own it.

When Yaa Asantewaa took up arms against the colonialists, she was not doing this with the conviction that she might win the war. But she felt obliged to defend her people even if she had to die. That is how history is made.

Let us think about these things.

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