Ghana’s Black Stars will be in battle with the Panthers of Gabon in a crucial Group C clash at the ongoing AFCON competition in Cameroon today.
In the past, a match of this magnitude would generate the kind of euphoria that every Ghanaian, be him or her a soccer fan or not, would want to be part of and be proud about.
When it especially looks like a ‘do-or-die’ affair, one would see fans clad in national colours, Black Stars replica jerseys worn everywhere, vehicles draped in national colours and all manner of activities to show support for the team.
However, dramatically, that has changed with time following the considerable drop in standards or performance of the team.
In the past fans would beat their chest and boast about the prowess of the Stars, but they have been forced to lower expectation as a result of that drop in the performance by the Stars and they have themselves to blame for this situation.
The last time the Black Stars laid hands on the AFCON trophy was 1982 in the Libya edition.
The truth is most Ghanaians think, for example, that the Stars team is made up of players who care more about themselves than the national pride they are to bring home for every Ghanaian to share in.
It is the case that some teams must triumph at tournaments as others are vanquished and even some of the vanquished are hailed back home because of the strenuous efforts they made on the field of play.
In the case of our Stars, most Ghanaians think they have failed to prove their mettle and so are deemed as individuals who care less about their supporters and so would not waste their energies on supporting such a team.
The Stars, the Ghanaian Times believes, can equally chronicle reasons for their weak performance but this is not the time to bring up details of certain matters.
The most important point now is that they have in their hands the power to straighten things up to redeem their image and win back their fans and their support.
Such support cannot be discounted because it has some inexplicable spirit that can, as has been the case in the past, cause the Stars to soar.
The Ghanaian Timesholds the view that today’s game offers the Black Stars a decent opportunity to bring their 2021 AFCON campaign on track by winning and thereby win back the injured support and waned confidence of their fans.
Support is very key in the competitive game of football; that is why governments are forced to spend taxpayers’ money to fly supporters to cheer their respective teams on.
The players are fully aware of this, so when they lose the support and breach the trust of the fans who would have to provide the needed inspiration when the going gets tough, then they must accept that they are walking on a tightrope.
This is surely the time for the Black Stars to disprove every negative perception about them and lift the pessimism among the fans.
But that will come with wins and good performances from the team, starting with today’s match against the Panthers who won their first game against Comoros.
In calling on the Black Stars to bounce back and put the nation’s championship dream on course, the Ghanaian Times would also want to urge the fans not to give up on the team but play their role as supporters and cheer the team to victory.
To this end, the appeal is that all Ghanaians should rally behind the Stars today to ginger them to win the game as that would also boost their image.