Often times, we’ve heard sounds of the patriotism drum whenever players go on national team assignment but the treatment given to these players is completely an irony of the call for nationalism and patriotism.
Just about a month ago, players of the national U23 side – The Black Meteors – were forced to purchase their own tickets to fly down to play for the nation and miraculously qualified for the first ever U23 AFCON to be hosted in Egypt next month.
These players are still chasing the government for a refund of their money, so it’s only ideal we don’t even talk about their qualification bonuses.
The treatment handed the Black Stars B who failed to defend the WAFU B Cup after missing out on penalty shootouts to hosts Senegal in the just-ended tournament in Dakar is akin to an orphan in a new environment.
Following their nine weeks camping – which is galloping into the tenth week – spanning from their preparation for the CHAN Qualifier with Burkina Faso in Kumasi throughout the period of the WAFU tournament, the team has not had the luxury of enjoying the statutory per diems given to teams on national duties.
The only time the team was given per diem was the week preceding their clash with Burkina Faso in the first leg of the CHAN Qualifiers in Kumasi.
For bonuses, the least talked about them, the better. The team managed to win three games at the WAFU tournament shooting down Gambia, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast to reach the final where they lost through the lottery of penalty kicks to hosts Senegal.
Despite winning three games, no bonuses have been paid the players with their per diems hanging in the sky with no hope of dropping.
Strangely, an entourage from the Ministry of Youth and Sports trekked all way to join the team in Senegal ahead of the final game without anything for the team.
Partly, the Ministry can be applauded for the gesture of showing support to the team but why trek to Dakar with empty hands when it’s evident that the players needed their per diems and bonuses to get going in the tournament?
In any case, what was the role of the Ghana Embassy in Senegal? Instead of wasting the poor taxpayer’s money on tickets for officials of the Sports Ministry to travel to Senegal, wouldn’t it have been prudent for the Ghana Ambassador in Senegal to have done that?
Despite the dry treatment meted out to the team, the average Ghanaian is only interested in seeing a trophy, regardless of where it is coming from, but not interested in the treatment to the team.
The treatment meted out to the team is not only unfair to the players but akin to punishment to the team.
With this treatment to the players, will it be fair to drum patriotism into their ears when they are starved from what they duly deserve?