Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako - The Writer

By Ken Bediako

I am convinced without doubt that Ghanaians love the Black Stars. Or should I say Ghanaians love good football. The truth of the matter is the Black Stars are the epitome of Ghana football so their exploits are dear to the nation.

Ghanaians have shown so much unanimous support for the Black Stars in the ongoing FIFA World Cup that should be the envy of our politicians who appear to be allergic to unity of purpose. I mean compromises, if you like.

I was pleasantly surprised at the way the football public overlooked the shocking manner the Black Stars conceded two rapid goals against Portugal after Dede Ayew’s equaliser and rather praised the players fighting spirit in pulling a goal back. It reminds me of the 2006 brutal 3-0 loss to Brazil that  Ghanaians sportingly rather applauded the defiant fighting spirit of Stephen Appiah and Co. To my mind, this was looking at the brighter side of life at its apogee.

It was this kind of positive encouragement that boosted the moral of our current Black Stars in Qatar to approach their next match against South Korea with that amazing confidence. And, here too, the agonising way they conceded two rapid goals to erase a seemingly  comfortable 2-0 lead, was conveniently pardoned and emphasis was rather put on the winning goal. Ah well, it is said that the end justifies the means. Despite all the silly blunders the Black Stars have given a grateful nation the hope of expecting a much improved performance as the competition progresses. It is noteworthy that since coach Otto took charge of the Black Stars, the team has shown improvement after every match be it friendly or competitive.

Many football analysts have been questioning certain aspects of Otto Addo’s tactics, notably, selection and timing of substitutions. But I have always maintained that the buck stops with the coach. He must therefore be given the opportunity to be responsible for his actions.

In football, winning takes precedence over entertainment and so long as the players are becoming familiar with themselves and delivering the goods, all the better.

Ghana may not be the ultimate champs in Qatar, but from all indications, this is quite a promising group that can easily recapture the Afcon Cup that has eluded Ghana since Libya 1982.

May I please suggest that a critical look be taken into how the Stars could suddenly freeze and concede two quick goals twice in succession against Portugal and South Korea.

A BBC report says Ghana has scored in each of their last eight World Cup matches.

No African team has scored in more consecutive games in the competition. Okay this may be a fine record but to score five goals and concede five goals in two consecutive matches poses a lot of questions.

It is however clear Otto’s strategies are gradually working and the goals are coming but we must watch the defence. Having whetted the appetite of Ghanaians for more successes, there should be no turning back. The last group stage match against old foes Uruguay must be approached with the same seriousness like the previous two.

The pundits say football is not an exact science neither is it mathematics. The fact that Ghana beat South Korea and South Korea drew with Uruguay doesn’t mean Ghana would beat Uruguay.

But definitely on current form, there is mothing short of victory for the Black Stars. Expect another high scoring show from Kudus and Co.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.

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