The Ayews predicament …To quit or not to quit

 The Ayews predicament …To quit or not to quit

• The Ayew brothers, Andre (left) and Jordan

 It’s interesting how things can change very fast in life.

In sports, particularly football, this scenario can be perfectly illustrated with its daily happenings.

In a minute, a player becomes a hero of a club or a national team, leading him to success on the field or chalking some historic wins. His absence can even affect the team’s confidence.

The next moment, this player becomes a villain who has overstayed his welcome, and he must retire or quit the club or national team.

Even when the player feels he has a little more to give, he is looked in the face by the same fans that applauded him and told that ‘Massa’, your time is up.’

From that moment, the player becomes the problem of the club or national team and is at fault for every neg­ativity around it.

Ask players like Ivorian international and Manchester City legend, Yahaya Toure, Ghana legend Asamoah Gyan and recently the Ayew broth­ers – Andre and Jordan, or axed Black Stars coach, Chris Hughton; they know about this.

But what these players or coaches do not know or refuse to accept is the axiom suggesting that one needs to leave the stage while the ovation is loudest.

Those who exit the stage while the applause was loud­est do not have the unpleas­ant experience of courting bad publicity or becoming a desperado to the same fans that once sang the player’s praise.

Former Ghana interna­tional and Dortmund star, Otto Addo, may be relaxing

 in his Dortmund base today, observing happenings in the camp of the Black Stars and perhaps, be wondering whether he would have been the target of that fan attack in Cote d’Ivoire following the team’s poor showing at AFCON 2023.

Addo guided the Black Stars to snatch a FIFA World Cup ticket from Nigeria over two legs to send the entire nation into frenzy. By the time the excitement came down, Ghana was out of the World Cup following an unim­pressive showing.

As stipulated in his con­tract, Addo exited the scene, although not with much applause and entered Hugh­ton who also kept faith with the Ayews, a decision that appears to have made him a ‘persona non grata’.

But one may ask what crime the Ayews commit­ted to warrant this level of condemnation and vilification from a majority of Ghanaian soccer fans.

If the narrative is not about why the coach kept Jordan in a game for the entire duration, then it will be why he brought on Andre because he was a mere pas­senger.

They have been the major subjects for discussions on several platforms and one even wonders where they get the motivation to still want to don the once glorious senior national team jersey.

In a sharp throwback to 2021 in Egypt, Andre was con­sidered Ghana’s finest after leading a U-21 side to defeat Brazil in a FIFA World Cup to hand Ghana her only success in that age categorised cham­pionship.

That, obviously, fast-for­warded his smooth transition to the senior side where he bid his time and became the captain of the side.

Beyond the camp poli­ticking fans only hear but lack evidence to confirm, the Ayews, in my view have paid their dues to Ghana football and must be treated with respect.

It appears Ghanaians have lost some of the magical mo­ments Andre especially have had with Ghana at the FIFA World Cup, AFCON and some qualifying games.

The only problem of the Ayews, for me is the failure to watch the clock to know when to time themselves out. What Asamoah Gyan went through with fans at the lat­ter parts of his career should have guided the Ayews to exit at the right moment.

It also teaches a lesson that no matter how sumptu­ous your football meal was in the past, fans will always go against you whenever it loses its taste.

But it is not too late. With their respective careers at an anti-climax, they can take a decision they feel will be in their interest and that of the nation in order to be absolved from the blame for the Black Stars downward spiral.

 By Andrew Nortey

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