Exorcising the ‘losing demons’ in 2023

Exorcising the ‘losing demons’ in 2023

● Meteors celebrating a goal against Mozambique in their last game

 Ghana football expe­rienced a topsy-turvy ride in the just-ended year, leaving in its wake tears, anguish and despair.

It is not an all-too unfa­miliar path for Ghana foot­ball, anyway. The nation’s game has for a while suffered a slump, recording results that would easily turn the uninitiated away from the sport.

Last year alone, the national 17 female and male football teams failed to qualify for major continental competi­tions. The Under-20 female side – Black Princesses, man­aged to clinch a ticket to the World Cup in India but were hugely humiliated as they lost all games by wider margins.

Our Black Stars did the nation some pride, edging out arch rivals Nigeria to qualify for the recently-ended World Cup in Qatar only to crash out in the opening round – a near replica of their calam­itous 2014 first round exit in Brazil.

At club level, the nation’s Gullivers – Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, were bundled out of their respective con­tinental campaigns as they failed to reach the Money Zone.

Heartily, boxing and athletics stole a medicum of glory with five medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games – the pugilistic sport snatching three medals. It was quite worth celebrating, especially when only one medal was won in the pre­vious quadrennial sporting festival in Australia.

This month – specifically from January 13, Ghana’s lo­cally-assembled stars known as the Black Galaxies, will be representing the country at the now-popular Cham­pionship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament in Alge­ria, having been flung into a taxing group that consists of Morocco, Madagascar and the Sudan.

It is the team’s fourth championship but so far has nothing to shown for hon­our despite having finished second in the competition’s maiden even held in Cote d’Ivoire as far back as 2009.

This term, the Galaxies have demonstrated strong intent of winning the trophy for the first time, signals that were picked from their preparatory games – after eliminating rivals Nigeria in the final qualifier.

Camped in Egypt to sharpen their arsenal for battle, the Galaxies last week thrashed Egyptian club giants 3-1 in a dominant performance, having earlier accounted for Egypt’s nation­al Under-20 team 2-0.

With the mood in the country quite low and de­spairing, we can only count on the spangling ‘local boys’ to restore the smiles on the faces of Ghanaians following the disappointment of the Black Stars in Qatar.

The Ghana Football As­sociation (GFA) must do its damnedest to ensure that we exorcise the demons of de­feat that has haunted the na­tion’s passion and this should start with success at the Algeria CHAN tournament.

Having showed such strong promise in the series of games they have played – right from the qualifiers to this stage, all that the Gal­axies need now is self-con­fidence. The team must believe in themselves; have the assurance that they can conquer all that cross their path.

That intrinsic motivation and those coming from the GFA and the government should be enough to do the trick.

By John Vigah

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